Sunday, May 18, 2008


DNA and its Parts

What these parts could be good for

Many scientists suggest that some parts of DNA are “silenced” genes that could do some harm to the body in which they are, and therefore they are silenced. This process happens according to today’s knowledge by mathylation; some methyl group gets attached to it and thus it disables the process of copying. There are many different parts of DNA with strange names like mini satellites or even micro satellites. These are sequences of DNA letters that seem to have no function. According to some experts the amount of this “junk” DNA creates the vast majority of DNA. This is explained as the result of selfish gene fight that takes place in every organism. One gene tries to propagate itself on the expense of other genes, regardless the harm it might cause to the organism such a gene is in.

I am not so much sure that this might be the only and the only correct explanation for these “seemingly” silenced genes.

DNA is a place where all the information that the organism considers important are stored and passed over to the next generation. Let’s consider few examples of inherited behavior, some are scientifically important some are only phenomena that everybody can see but they are not scientifically tested. These observation, scientific or not, might be the real clue to the function of DNA.

There is a snake that pretends to be dead when attacked by its predator, the snake turns on its back, shows its belly, opens it mouth and lets out decaying smell of its mouth. The predator reacts to these signals and leaves the snake without eating it, because this predator does not eat old decaying bodies. This alone would not be as much interesting as the second part of this experiment. Scientists took eggs of this snake and observed them and when the small snakes started to get out of their egg shells, and their bodies were still half inside of the eggs, they put a predator there so that the snakes could see it. Their reaction was stunning and logical at the same time. They showed the same reaction as the parent snake, they turn on their backs and let the decaying odor out of their mouths.

This is extremely important experiment as it shows that this ability to pretend being dead is not taught but passed over to the next generation in DNA as biological information. Actually, there must be a lot of information in DNA so that these baby snakes can display this kind of behavior. First, there must be a mental image of their predator in their nervous system. If it were not, their nervous system had no reason to start any kind of behavioral response when being exposed to this specific predator. There must be some kind of information stored in the “baby snake” brain so that it can recognize the predator as predator. This information can be based on visual information, or some other sensory information, as smell or the heart beat of predator. It could also be some waves emitted by the predator, at the molecular, atomic or subatomic level. The next information that must be stored in the nervous system of this snake is the reaction that it starts on having sensed the predator in whatever way I mentioned before.

So there must be first the biological information of the mental picture of the predator, second there must be “prefabricated” bodily response, an third there must be the link between these two kinds of information.

When we think of DNA as a place where all the needed information is stored, that enables the offspring to develop further than the parental generation, then it seems logical that DNA must be full of such information, and not only the informational set of biological rules according to which the respective body is built. And we have plenty of different bodies. The phenotypic expression of some biological set of information can be seen as the form of the body. Human body differs from a body of an elephant, elephant body differs from a body of a fish, body of a fish differs from a body of a butterfly, and that differs again from the body of a shark, ape, gorilla, snake, ant or spider, and these differs from the body build of birds. All these information is in DNA.

But DNA is not the blue print for building the body only. It also has plenty of other information, as in the case of snake. In order to support this idea that DNA stores also many other kinds of information I will now describe one simple case, my own. My handwriting according to the words of my mother is the same as the handwriting of my father, but I have never seen his handwriting or him writing something. So for some reason it seems that this information was passed down to me in DNA from my father. There is most probably no particular sense in passing over such information about handwriting, but how does some organism decide which information is worth storing and which is worth to be passed over to the next generation? My answer is that the only possible decision criterion is the number of repetitions. So, if my father used to write a lot, his organism may have come to the conclusion that this activity is important and thus worth passing over to the next generation, me.

Why actually do organisms pass such type of information to their offspring? The answer is extremely easy, they save energy to of their offspring as it does not have to develop the whole system of analyzing some phenomenon, storing its mental picture and developing some reasonable response to this signal. When parents have already done all this work it makes sense to pass that information to offspring as it saves time and also lives, as in the case of snakes. If they would not show the proper reaction upon seeing their predator and forcing the predator to leave, they would have been most probably eaten and thus they would have had no offspring in their turn. So, seen with the eyes of biologists, the parents pass this kind of live-saving information to their children in order to have grand children that means in order to propagate their own set of genes.

Therefore I believe that there might be some genes that are really silenced, but there will be incredibly huge number of other information stored in DNA, like in the case of snake or in my “own” case where I apparently inherited the handwriting of my father.

Psychology can show that even newborns have already some traits. If so, then, they must be inherited from their parents, and this can happen either through DNA or in the mother’s womb. But even when this happens in the mother’s womb the fetus must have some system or a set of pre-information that allows accepting the information in uterus. And this information must be encoded and stored and passed over to the next generation. Otherwise each newborn had to develop its own system of all information needed for his body, including its immune system, and functions of all body organs as well as socio-biological information, that means how to behave when I am hungry and I want my mother to come to me and feed me. If all this information would have to be created instead of inherited, the number of children that would not make it and die would be extremely huge.

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