It has recently been suggested that the practice of bioethics in the area of biology and genetics has been hampered by the lack of an accurate and appropriate metaphor. Beginning with previous metaphors that have compared the genome with a static blueprint or “book of life”, I develop a dynamic metaphor that is compatible with our present understanding of the role of genetics in biology. The resulting metaphor is not only an accurate representation of current biology but of particular use to bioethicists and non-biologists in general.
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This work was supported by a grant from the Marsden Fund of New Zealand.