Open any catalogue of the human genome and you will be confronted not with a list of human potentialities, but a list of diseases, mostly named after pairs of obscure central-European doctors. This gene causes Niemann-Pick disease; that one causes Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome. The impression given is that genes are there to cause diseases. ...........................................................
Yet to define genes by the diseases they cause is about as absurd as defining organs of the body by the diseases they get: livers are there to cause cirrhosis, hearts to cause heart attacks and brains to cause strokes. It is a measure, not of our knowledge but of our ignorance, that this is the way the genome catalogues read. It is literally true that the only thing we know about some genes is that their malfunction causes a particular disease. This is a pitifully small thing to know about a gene, and a terribly misleading one. It leads to the dangerous shorthand that runs as follows: `X has got the Wolf-Hirschhorn gene'. Wrong. We all have the Wolf-Hirschhorn gene, except, ironically, people who have Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome.
I wrote some of the paragraph to show the context but the problem is just a purple colored sentence.
'It is a measure, not of our knowledge but of our ignorance, that this is the way the genome catalogues read.'
Can 'that' in this sentence mean 'if' ? Can I read it like 'If this is the way the genome catelogues read, it is a measure, not of our knowledge but of our ignorance.'