If the poem had been written a few years later it would probably have exploited the clay particles (as well as coacervates) adsorbing proteins and nucleic acids , catalysing of a ss much older way of thinking which has a special relationship. If by their own admission they still cannot read the DNA text of the Book of Life, how of the Gene: “DNA makes RNA, RNA makes protein, and proteins make us . relationships could have led researchers to dismiss the greater part of DNA. Free Essay: Carbohydrates, Proteins, lipids, and nucleic Acid Lab Exercise 6 Date: 9/17/12 Bio Purpose the purpose of this experiment.
In the s to s, molecular biologists were sure that each DNA sequence could not encode more than one polypeptide chain. The reason was that a single mutation would then possibly alter two different proteins, greatly reducing the chance of a beneficial change happening for evolution. Initially the Sanger et al.
Nonetheless, other coincident messages began to pop up all over the place as sequence data accumulated. For example, start sites for initiating and controlling RNA synthesis appeared repeatedly inside coding sequences for bacterial proteins.
DNA as Poetry: Multiple Messages in a Single Sequence
Once again, the need to maintain a streamlined genome size was invoked as an explanation for the unexpected results.
But in the early s, Antonio Cascino and his colleagues analyzed published sequences from mammalian genomes and showed that both strands of at least 50 genetic loci encoded proteins of over amino acids.
As Cascino said almost thirty years ago in a seminar about human DNA encoding hemoglobin, "If you did not already know the protein sequence, you couldn't tell which strand was the important one. Constraint on synonymous changes indicates that selection for some function other than protein coding maintains the nucleotide sequence unchanged. Our results show that overlapping functional elements are common in mammalian genes, despite the vast genomic landscape. We can answer at least one of them: Is there something special about the triplet code for amino acids sometimes erroneously referred to as "the genetic code" that allows multiple messages to overwrite protein sequence information?
Yes, there is something special. Following a question I asked during a visit to the Weizmann Institute, Shalev Itzkowitz and Uri Alon analyzed the capacity to carry additional messages of the 13, possible triplet codes. They discovered that the triplet code used in living cells is one of only a dozen or so possible triplet codes that are optimal for overwriting additional sequences into the string of nucleotides encoding a defined protein segment.
For example, depending on the presence of so-called chaperon proteins, a given chain of amino acids the constituent elements of protein may fold in different ways. These various foldings in turn shape the overall structure and functioning of cell and organism. The supposedly linear structure of letters, words, and sentences into which DNA has been decoded simply does not articulate a clean, unambiguous, command-and-control authority sitting atop a hierarchical chain of command.
Logic, DNA, and Poetry - The New Atlantis
These processes yield hereditary changes that are not associated with structural changes in DNA at all. Rather, they arise from alterations in how the rest of the organism marks and employs its DNA. And beyond this, researchers have been exploring effects upon DNA from the larger environment.
In a dramatic reversal of traditional doctrine, investigations of bacteria show that gene mutations can arise from — can even be guided by — environmental conditions in a non-random way.
In sum, genes are no more the self-determining cause of everything else in the organism than they are themselves the result of everything else. Finally, we have seen a startling demotion of the human genome in size relative to other organisms.
The most recent and near-final estimate by the Human Genome Project puts humans in possession of 20, to 25, genes — this compared to at least 25, for a tiny, primitive, semi-transparent worm, Caenorhabditis elegans.
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If genes constitute the one-way controlling logic or master program determining the potentials of the organism, then finding such unexpected gene counts is rather like discovering we could implement all the programs of the Microsoft Office software suite using only the minuscule amount of program logic required for a simple daily greeting program. Reviewing the history of misdirection surrounding the gene, Moss writes: Once upon a time it would have stood to reason that the complexity of an organism would be proportional to the number of its unique genetic units.
- How Are Protein & Nucleic Acids Related?
In the face of such protestations, recital of the history of misdirection begins to seem unfair. After all, scientists must be allowed to make mistakes, as long as they are willing to learn from them. But does the painfully repetitive history of genetics and AI suggest that they have in fact learned from their mistakes? The best way I know how to answer this question is to elucidate the central misdirection in the history under discussion.
The real significance of the overheated rhetoric of the Human Genome Project lies in the seemingly unstoppable appeal by geneticists to language and thought — that is, to book, word, letter, code, translation, transcription, message, signal, and all the rest. Or, to employ the most universal term today: This resort to a terminology so brazenly mental in origin appears to be a stunning reversal. Just a few decades ago we still lived within the long historical era during which it was unpardonable for the natural scientist to draw his explanatory terms from intelligent activity.
Crucially, the age of cybernetics and computation arrived.
A-DNA/RNA Poem - Bio1Bokeefecastelberg
This brought with it, for many researchers, the promise of the mechanization of language and thought. Suddenly it became respectable to invoke human mentality in scientific explanation because everyone knew you were not really talking about mentality at all — certainly not about anything remotely resembling our actual mental experience. You were invoking computational mechanisms. So the change was less a matter of assigning human intelligence to the mechanically conceived world than of reconceiving human intelligence itself as mechanical performance.
But if we can look past this reductionism, what we find is that geneticists have glimpsed more truth than they realize, and the reason for their confusion is that, due to their mechanistic compulsions, they cannot bring themselves to accept their own inchoate insight.
If they have been driven to textual metaphors with such compelling, seemingly inescapable force, it is because these metaphors capture a truth of the matter. The creative processes within the organism are word-like processes.
Something does speak through every part of the organism — and certainly through DNA along with all the rest. Geneticists are at least vaguely aware of this speaking — and of the unity of being it implies — and therefore they naturally resort to explanations that seem to invoke a being who speaks. The problem is that their insistence upon textual mechanisms blinds them even to the most obvious aspects of language — aspects that prove crucial for understanding the organism.
If I am speaking to you in a logically or grammatically proper fashion, then you can safely predict that my next sentence will respect the rules of logic and grammar.
But this does not even come close to telling you what I will say. Rather, they only tell us something about how we speak, not what we say or who we are as speaking beings. If geneticists would reckon fully with this one central truth, it would transform their discipline. They would no longer imagine they could read the significance of the genetic text merely by laying bare the rules of a molecular syntax. And they would quickly realize other characteristics of the textual language they incessantly appeal to — for example, that meaning flows from the larger context into the specific words, altering the significance of the words.
This is something you experience every time you find yourself able, while hearing a sentence, to select between words that sound alike but have different meanings. The context tells you which one makes sense.
The role of context is pervasive. If DNA is like a text, then plasticity of the gene must be one of the rock-bottom, fundamental principles of heredity. Conversation and Poetry There is no need for geneticists to endure lectures from philologists, however.
As we have seen, this is exactly what their own discoveries of the past fifty years have been shouting at them. In the ongoing conversation between word and text, part and whole — and contrary to the Central Dogma — we find the context of the organism informing the genetic text at least as much as the genes can be said to inform the organism.
This is the underlying truth that science historian Lily Kay elaborates when she writes: We gain a knowledge of genes The more knowledge we have of the organism as a whole, the more information we have. This information is not in the genes; it is the conceptual thread that weaves together the various details into a meaningful whole.
The weaving together is a conversation, not a merely mechanical unrolling of a logically compelling sequence. When we speak of such things as messenger RNA, the conversational context should be obvious. It makes no sense — or, at least, no sense that biologists have yet explained — to speak of a message without a recipient capable of a certain understanding, and without a context for determining how the message is to be construed.
If we eliminate these things from the picture, we have a message without meaning, which is no message at all. The question, then, is whether geneticists really believe their own terminology. Everything we have been learning about the genome points to the significance of its conversational context.
As Lenny Moss puts it: Actually, it is not so much the script that is banal as the reduced, syntactic reading of it. Words of Explanation Language is the very soul and substance of explanation itself. The reason for this can only be that the world we are explaining has something language-like about it.
When we offer a scientific explanation for some aspect of the world, we necessarily assume that the meaning of our words is at the same time the meaning of the chosen aspect of the world.
The world must in some sense be a text waiting to be deciphered. This is why the scientist can, in fact, decipher it into the text of a scientific description.
So in reality all scientific explanation is founded upon an appeal to the word. Most fundamentally, this stance takes the form of an attempt to explain words themselves as if they were objects. No longer standing consciously within the transparent meaning of the words we speak, allowing the world to become visible and meaningful through their transparency, we instead take these words as additional things in the world to be explained.
That is, we want to understand our explanatory words as if they themselves were nothing more than causal results of processes going on in the world they explain.
There is something gravely misconceived in this effort to explain explanation itself — and all the more when the effort involves an appeal to mechanisms stripped as far as possible of their word-like and therefore of their explaining nature.
It is rather like trying to prove the validity of logic — or, in other words, trying to prove the validity of the instruments of proof — and to do so by invoking physical laws. We can recognize something like the fruitless struggle to explain explanation in the difficulties that beset twentieth-century physics when the attempt was made to understand light — that is, to illuminate illumination.