Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh,
Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK.
Animal embryos successfully transform. the two-dimensional code
of their genome into multidimensional organisms that are ready to meet the
challenge of natural selection. In addition to the three dimensions of the body,
animal genomes inform. additional dimensions: of cells coordinating to form.
tissues, tissues functioning together as organs, and organs shaping the body's
systems; and of individuals responding appropriately to the varied challenges of
life and surviving to breed. Poisons in food are detoxified, pathogens are
killed, parasites are eliminated, and predators avoided through the deft
employment of responses encoded in the genome. It is not currently possible to
compute an organism from its genome, performing the transformation so
efficiently executed by embryos, but two articles in this issue, by Gerstein et
al. and the modENCODE Consortium, bring this goal closer.