[Smt-talk] Geno- and phenotype musical structures

Victor grauer victorag at verizon.net
Mon Jan 14 10:31:06 PST 2013

At 11:43 AM 1/12/2013, Serge Lacasse wrote:
>Reading Sebastian Sumjan's linguistic grammar theory (itself derived 
>from Bateson's genetic model, see below), I was wondering if one 
>could draw an analogy between his geno-/phenotype grammars and Set 
>Theory. Could we, for example, consider sets as genotypes that may 
>then give rise to different forms of realizations (phenotypes)?

. . .

>  The terms genotype and phenotype are borrowed from biology, where 
> genotype means a definite set of genes that is invariant with 
> respect to its different manifestations called phenotype."

I'm puzzled by Sumjan's use of "genotype" and "phenotype" in this 
regard, because it implies that a genotype is a sort of prototype or 
model and a phenotype one realization of the possibilities implied in 
that model, and I don't think that is accurate. As I understand it, 
the genotype is encoded in one's DNA and is the generator of the 
phenotype.  Or at least potentially its generator, as the genotype 
may not always be expressed in a phenotype. Apparently each 
phenotype, i.e., a physically observable trait, such as blonde hair, 
is caused by its corresponding genotype, i.e. bits of DNA forming a 
gene. What characterizes a genotype is not so much its potential to 
generate all sorts of variations (since each variant will have its 
own genotype), but our ability to trace its origin (at least in 
principle) from a common ancestor, down a long chain of mutations -- 
in other words, a historical process, which, in Darwinian terms, is 
usually the product of some sort of adaptation.

Victor Grauer
Pittsburgh, PA

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