Alan R Hemsley1 and Peter C Griffiths2

1 Department of Earth Sciences, Cardiff University, PO Box 914, Cardiff CF10 3YE, UK

2 Department of Chemistry, Cardiff University, PO Box 912, Cardiff CF10 3TB, UK

There is little doubt that the information encoded in the genes of living things has a great impact on their ultimate form. Dogs, daisies and diatoms (Figure 6.1(a)) are what they are, largely because they have a set of genes that, working in combination, code for the production of such things as fur, flowers or frustules. However, working in tandem with the genetic code is a diversity of mechanisms which cannot be mapped to any gene, but which contribute much to the production of structure, architecture and pattern. The existence of such mechanisms is in part obvious. As explained by Cohen, the imaginary changeling-like introduction of fly DNA into the egg of a chicken would produce neither fly nor chicken since fly information and chicken constructional mechanisms would be largely incompatible. A fly needs fly construction mechanisms while the constructional apparatus in a chicken's egg cannot use fly information to make a chicken.

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