No RNA viruses?
It says "Throughout the biological disciplines, the word 'gene' refers to some heritable 'entity' or 'system', related to DNA, that plays a role... " Well, not really. Often DNA is the physical basis of inheritance (to quote a well known phrase in genetics) but not always. Second, the word "heritable" has too many meanings in genetics to be used safely here. Use the more accurate term "inherited" or "biologically inherited" so you don't start with "heritable" and "heritability." And beware of prions lurking in the definitional distance. Timothy Perper 13:58, 25 September 2008 (CDT)
- The key is there can be no absolutes with respect to mechanisms or inheritance or with respect to what a gene is. Note that prions more readily fit into what I would call infectious, not heritable in the genetic sense (although CJD variants can obviously be inherited at the DNA level), so I think we can turn a blind eye to the problems they bring to the topic. I think the thing here is that "related to DNA" is sufficiently vague to include conformations of heterochromatin that might be heritable and even RNA is "related" to DNA, although I understand the point you are trying to make. So, while I do think the first paragraph does make a nod to the exceptions it might be more explicit. Chris Day 14:16, 25 September 2008 (CDT)
- I agree that it needs to be more explicit and precise. We can't ignore the RNA viruses. The prions, well, I agree -- let's let them vanish back into the definitional distance I mentioned. But we can't do that with the RNA viruses. So the use of the word "DNA" in the opening sentence has to be changed. One might say "related in most organisms to DNA", but the word "most" is not clear enough. Saying "in all organisms except a few viruses" is better. Most readers will be willing, I think, to let a few viruses escape the generalization and the expert will know that we've covered our bases. Then, later somewhere, one can say that those exceptional viruses use RNA, not DNA. Timothy Perper 15:16, 25 September 2008 (CDT)