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To know the “molecular syntax” (Manfred Eigen) of the genetic sequences of organisms doesn’t mean to know all “multiple protein meanings” (Gil Ast) that derive from a great variety of higher-order regulatory functions hidden in the non-protein-coding DNA. The network of higher-order regulatory functions and its important role to the key processes in DNA replication and recombination is now being recognized as a complex hierarchical pattern. This includes also the highly dynamic patterns of genome formatting as prerequisite to the great variety of epigenetic processes as demonstrated by Randy Jirtle at the Biosemiotic Congress 2006 in Salzburg. The whole toolbox of “natural genetic engineering” (James Shapiro) apparently involves complex interactional networks of text-editing competences. Interestingly, recent research on the important roles of viruses in the evolution of life (Luis Villarreal) has now provided strong evidence that all key features of natural genetic engineering have been derived through different life-strategies of viruses throughout the history of evolution.

This symposium assembles experts from different fields to discuss a new understanding of code- generating and genome-formatting factors based on the knowledge of key features of natural genetic engineering and on the evolutionary role of viruses. This should lead to new insights in evolution, development, health and disease and yield an appropriate framework to examine key processes of natural-genome-editing in general and in detail.

The symposium will be limited to 50 participants to guarantee a high throughput of informational and discourse dynamics.

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