DNA as Recipe

DNA can be thought of as a recipe, rather than a blueprint. It starts a series of events like assembling ingredients and then mixing them in order, as a cook would, rather than prescribing a final outcome, like an architect’s set of drawings.

DNA, a chain of molecules, provides the information for proteins, also molecular chains, to do the work of living: growing, repair and reproducing. How these chains were formed, in what sequence the nucleotides were arranged, determines what information that the gene (a string of  three-nucleotide codons) has and therefore the job the protein does.

This is an important concept for understanding how nature builds and maintains itself. Growth, movement, response to the environment, and adaptation, all important attributes of living things, are all made easier if you work with an adjustable recipe, rather than an unchangeable plan.