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December 07, 2006

The secret of DNA

Here's an old one from rec.humor.funny that I've always enjoyed. "How old?" you might ask. Old enough that it will probably be new to many, I'll guess. Unfortunately, I don't know who wrote it.

For many years molecular biologists have been mystified by the fact that very little of an organism's DNA seems to serve any useful function.

I have solved the mystery.

The reason why only 30% of human DNA performs any useful function is that the rest of it is comments.

Once we decode a typical human genome, we see that the contents begin as follows:


===
/* HUMAN_DNA.H
*
* Human Genome
* Version 2.1
*
* (C) God
*/

/* Revision history:
*
* 0000-00-01 00:00 1.0 Adam.
* 0000-00-02 10:00 1.1 Eve.
* 0000-00-03 02:11 1.2 Added penis code to male version. A bit messy --
* will require a rewrite later on to make it neater.
* 0017-03-12 03:14 1.3 Added extra sex drive to male.h; took code from
* elephant-dna.c
* 0145-10-03 16:33 1.4 Removed tail.
* 1115-00-31 17:20 1.5 Shortened forearms, expanded brain case.
* 2091-08-20 13:56 1.6 Opposable thumbs added to hand() routine.
* 2501-04-09 14:04 1.7 Minor cosmetic improvements -- skin colour made
* darker to match my own image.
* 2909-07-12 02:21 1.8 Dentition inadequate; added extra 'wisdom' teeth.
* Must remember to make mouth bigger to compensate.
* 4501-12-31 14:18 1.9 Increase average height.
* 5533-02-12 17:09 2.0 Added gay option, triggered by high population
* density, to try and slow the overpopulation problem.
* 6004-11-04 16:11 2.1 Made forefinger narrower to fit hole in centre of
* CD.
*/

/* Standard definitions
*/

#define SEX male
#define HEIGHT 1.84
#define MASS 68

/* Include inherited traits from parent DNA files.
*
* Files must be pre-processed with MENDEL program to provide proper
* inheritance features.
*/

#include "mother.h"
#include "father.h"

#infndef FATHER
#warn("Father unknown -- guessing\n")
#include "bastard.h"
#endif

/* Set up sex-specific functions and variables
*/
#include

/* Kludged code -- I'll re-design this lot and re-write it as a proper
* library sometime soon.
*/
struct genitals
{
#ifdef MALE
Penis *jt;
#endif
/* G_spot *g; Removed for debugging purposes */
#ifdef FEMALE
Vagina *p;
#endif
}

/* Initialization bootstrap routine -- called before DNA duplication.
* Allocates buffers and sets up protein file pointers
*/
DNA *zygote_initialize(Sperm *, Ovum *);

/* MAIN INITIALIZATION CODE
*
* Returns structures containing pre-processed phenotypes for the organism
* to display at birth.
*
* Will be improved later to make output less ugly.
*/
Characteristic *lookup_phenotype(Identifier *i);
===

...and so on.

Posted by joke du jour at December 7, 2006 08:32 PM

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