Caveats for the reader of
“How the Organism Decides What to Make of Its Genes”
Stephen L. Talbott
This document is part of the supporting material for a larger
work in progress entitled: “Biology Worthy
of Life”. Original publication of this article: July 19, 2013.
Copyright 2013 The Nature Institute.
All rights reserved.
The accompanying collection of research notes entitled,
How the Organism Decides What to Make of Its
Genes”, has the following limitations, among others:
The note-making process is not the same as writing an article, and this
collection of notes — going back to when, largely in a state of ignorance, I
first began researching the literature of gene regulation in 2009 — was not
intended for publication. Its usefulness to others struck me only several
years later, as I became aware that even many molecular biological researchers
have only a very restricted awareness of the full breadth of the literature on
My own notes do not pretend to capture that full breadth. But they do sketch
far more of it than I have ever seen presented in one place.
These notes have not been carefully proofread, and quotations have not been
double-checked against the sources from which they were drawn.
Often the literature citations given do not point to the papers containing
the original finding, but rather to review or commentary articles that the
general reader will find more accessible. Also, I have introduced some
explanatory elaborations along the way, with the general reader in mind. But
as I continued collecting the notes, this became increasingly impractical, if
only for length considerations. As a result, the text may seem a strange
mixture of the elementary (for the molecular biologist) and the impenetrable
(for the general reader).
The hierarchical organization of the notes is often arbitrary or illogical.
The activities of the cell are so interwoven that any static outline and
categorization of research findings easily becomes downright silly. The
far-flung aspects of a coordinated set of activities cannot be neatly
partitioned under separate headings. Many items could just as well be cited
under several other headings (and I have doubtless “mis-filed” some items from
sheer haste and carelessness). While I have tried to keep redundancy to a
minimum, a certain amount is unavoidable.
The coverage given to particular topics is sometimes wildly disproportionate
(on the low side) to the importance of the topic. That results from both
laziness in note-taking and lack of sufficient reading on my part.
There are doubtless some conclusions by investigators cited in this document
that have been superceded by later studies, although where I have happened to
notice this I have tried to delete the outdated comments. And, of course,
there are all degrees of certainty attaching to the different remarks,
regardless of the confidence expressed by the researchers.
There is no bibliography, despite the hundreds of bibliographic citations in
the text. Those citations are keyed to a bibliographic database of my own, not
suitable for use here. I never had motivation to create a proper, publishable
bibliography for what amounts to a set of rough notes. Now that the notes
are being published, the situation is obviously different (although the
limitations on my time have not changed!). Sometime during 2014 I began adding
“doi” references for all new entries. As for all the others, the combination
of author names and quotations should in most cases make it easy to track down
the referenced articles in Google Scholar. You may also feel free to contact
(email@example.com) for any
reference you are having trouble finding.
This document: https://bwo.life/org/support/caveats.htm
Steve Talbott :: Caveats for the Reader of “How the Organism Decides What to Make of Its Genes”