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The Rise of Community Genomics

My dad, a Latvian World War II vet, liked to compare human behavior to that of insects.

"We're all just ants," he would often say.

I didn't really grasp his full meaning until I swung into the social psychology kick of my early twenties. But then, when I did, I realized that this metaphor extended further into all biological systems. My current position is that we're not just humans, or ants, we're a biological mesh of knowledge generating organisms.

So it's interesting and a little bit validating to read that scientists are now (at last - due to reduced technological limitations) exploring community approaches to genomics, in this instance the "genomes of 17 different ants, fungi and bacteria that eat through hundreds of pounds of leaf matter a year could ultimately lead to new techniques for making biofuels."

Over time, the findings will help to paint a more accurate picture of how interdependent life systems cooperate and how exactly we humans (genetically, behaviorally, non-consciously) fit into the equation. Such research will be critical as we seek to either confirm, reformat or discard our simulation(s) of intelligence and the self.




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