ToK: Nucleic Acids

Highly repetitive sequences were once classified as “junk DNA” showing a degree of confidence that it had no role.

To what extent do the labels and categories used in the pursuit of knowledge affect the knowledge we obtain?

3 comments on “ToK: Nucleic Acids

  1. Labels and categories determine the manner in which something is looked upon. They define what something is and is not. For example, the labeling of repetitive sequences of DNA as “junk DNA” made people believe that it was in fact, junk. It persuaded their minds to not questioning it further. Labels and categories also form the first impression of something. They decide how something will be perceived by those who come across it. Often, misleading labels can lead to misinterpretations and miscommunication. This is also how gender roles work. When one sex is characterized to have a specific set of qualities, those who are ignorant are led to believe that this is what should be expected of that particular side of the population. When in reality, the labels might be entrenched in just hollow assumptions.

  2. For centuries, humans have been making decisions and using certain phrases (labels) to describe someone or something based on their emotions and intuition. This offers certain advantages, such as: making it easy to classify objects and understand them in greater detail. However, this could also pose disadvantages.

    Labeling and categorizing creates an effect that a person or item is absolute. For instance, a cat is either a living organism or non-living- nothing in between. This is discrete. Furthermore, when scientists believed that highly repetitive sequences played no role and were useless, they classified the findings as “junk DNA”. As a result, these incorrect labels (based on emotions or false data) prevented further advancements in DNA and heredity as the scientists made it clear that DNA was “junk” or useless.

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