Each of those twenty


Hello everyone,

From the book Thank You for Being Late by Thomas Friedman.

Let’s say you have two genomes. And genome A has one gene that is perfectly adapted for today’s system of cold and genome B has twenty genes, only one of which is expressed as resistance for cold. Genome A has one option to mutate the gene until it randomly hits on the solution to the problem or it dies. Genome B might have twenty offspring. Genome B has twenty potential answers. It will express or modulate each of those twenty, and there is a very good chance that one of them will be the right solution to the problem it faces.

What does “each of those twenty” refer to - twenty genes (genome B has twenty genes) or twenty offspring (Genome B might have twenty offspring)?

And is it possible to understand from the text what problem is meant here? Cold?

Thank you.


Hi Kipno, I don’t think it is just you, because I also found this confusing. The main point is that having 20 genes rather than one gene allows more variation among offspring and thus a better chance of adapting to new problems. I think the “each of these twenty” refers to the 20 genes. But I don’t know why he talks about 20 offspring - that seems to be where the confusion comes from. I guess he is saying even if Genome A has 20 offspring, they will all be almost the same since they only have one gene, while if Genome B has 20 offspring, each one will be quite different because of the large number of possible gene expressions.