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Gene expression is often tied to the environment the organism is in. Mere possession a gene isn't enough to benefit from it. Some expressions don't take effect immediately, but rather activate in subsequent generations.

Epigenetics is a whole equally large layer on top of this system. A single-focus approach may not be sufficient, and even if it is, it's not likely to cope with environmental entropy very well.




If you can craft a gene[1] to express some particular phenotype (a big if), surely you can craft it to express itself without reliance on epigentic[2] chemistry.

[1] I understand gene to mean some ill-defined, not necessarily contiguous set of genetic sequences (DNA, RNA, and analogs) with an identifiable, particularized expression that effects reproductive (specifically, replicative) success. I think over time "gene" has been redefined and narrowed in a way to make it easier to claim to have made supposedly model-breaking discoveries.

[2] Some others on HN have made strong cases for why epigenetics isn't a meaningful departure from the classic genetic model; just a cautionary tail for eager reductivists who would draw unsupported conclusions from the classic model. See, also, note #1.




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