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Inside the Cell: DNA as a Library

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On a new episode of ID the Future, biologist and CSC Senior Fellow Ann Gauger talks with Sarah Chaffee about the library of the cell: DNA. She draws a thought-provoking analogy to a famed institution in our nation’s capital.

Download the episode by clicking here:

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If you’ve ever been to the Library of Congress, you know it’s a very special place, not like the local branch of the county library in your neighborhood. In fact, it’s the world’s largest. The result of James Madison’s vision and built on the seed of Thomas Jefferson’s personal library, the collection is matched for magnificence by the architecture. One unique feature is that rather than wandering through the stacks as you please, you give a slip with your request to a librarian, who retrieves the item for you.

As Dr. Gauger points out, DNA is much like that: precious information is carefully stored to be retrieved and accessed as needed according to a precise protocol, all of it housed in an architectural masterpiece.

Dr. Gauger delves into transcription and translation and the speed with which these processes take place. The cell is a wonder, and even more so when you consider that all that organization and information came about by a random process of matter blindly swishing and bumping up against itself — just like the Library of Congress.

Photo: Library of Congress, by Carol M. Highsmith [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.