Friday, May 30, 2008


Environment, Hormones, Hierarchy, Groups, Stress

Hormones, blood pressure, psychology of humans and ethology of chimps and of other species

The idea that human females created human males as they need it may seem strange, but there might be something on that statement. The relation between hormones, body reaction and psychology is really strange. The decisive question is what comes first. Is it the hormones, the body or our psychology, our “soul”, our spirit?

In some instances it seems that the hormones are the first in this logical sequence of activities. Sometimes psychology seems to be the driving force and sometimes it is the body reaction that causes all the subsequent changes in the other two. So how should we perceive this?

Let’s mention one possible logical chain of subsequent activities concerning blood pressure in males and females correlated to their behavior and stress. This cannot be seen only at the present time but in the course of evolution of this system, that means I will also compare this specific human behavior with the behaviors demonstrated by other species as described by biologists.

One American professor had been studying chimps for 25 years in their natural habitats, watching them and measuring hormones in their blood and putting these numbers in relation to the observed behavior.

If two male chimps have a fight, be it for food or female, one must be the loser. Being a loser causes stress hormones to increase, and also a typically observed reaction after such a male-male fight is that the loser bites any female within his reach. This is a typical behavior of a loser in a system of a group hierarchy. The loser does not like the feel of being a loser and in order to get rid of this feeling he must put someone down below his level in the hierarchy. The safest way to do so is to attack somebody who is so much weaker than the loser that the outcome of the fight is secure. For a male it means to attack a female. Females are in general weaker than males. Sometimes if the male perceives himself as extra weak, he might as well attack children, these are to be viewed as even weaker than females. These two sparing partners, female and children give the utmost chance in prediction to win the fight and so to enable to establish the loser’s damaged feeling of his level of hierarchy.

This kind of stress is usually highly connected with high blood pressure. If somebody is during long times of evolution constantly the loser most probably she will develop systems how to overcome these constant insults. Because the stress is linked to high blood pressure and a constant high blood pressure is dangerous to life, females developed generally lower blood pressure so that they can withstand the insults of males. These insults cause their blood pressure to go higher and basically reach the normal level.

To measure only the blood pressure and stress hormones in males after fight is good but not enough. We must also examine the blood pressure and stress hormones of females who are attacked by the loser.

To tell the truth it is not only chimps who were studied but also many other animals, among them also humans. It is really enough to watch the behavior of males and females how they affect each other.

I will describe here a typical situation among human males and females. A man had any kind of fight at work, with his boss, with the customers, just with anybody and the result was, the things are not so as he wanted. He lost, he must o his stuff in a different way than he originally planned or thought. When he comes home he has a miserable mood and attacks his wife.

Super sportsmen when being asked what kind of feeling, emotion is more intense, stronger, the emotion of losing or the emotion of winning, answered, including tennis star John McEnroe, answered that losing is more intense emotion.

So it seems that the feel of one’s own position in the hierarchy of a group is extremely important, as well as the ability to predict. It would make no sense for a chimp that lost a fight to attack the same or even a stronger chimp again. The only reasonable action is to attack somebody who is highly probable to lose, a female or a child or absolutely obviously weaker male chimp.

It might be also possible that women who have learned to cope with the male’s attacks still have too low blood pressure and therefore need some alcohol.

So what have I described actually? What is first? Well, I believe it is difficult to answer. First is the feel of hierarchy. If this feeling is destroyed, and the position in hierarchy goes down, this feeling brings increased hormones in game and in turn increased hormones have bodily impact, and also a behavioral impact. So actually it is the informational environment that causes some feeling, some emotion and this in turn seems to be the trigger for further actions.

But the case is not so simple. What is an emotion, where does it come from, why are basically all animals including human species so much aware of their status, their level, their position in the hierarchy of their respective group? What triggers this emotion, and what triggers all emotions?

I believe that the answer is relatively simple and striking. It is just the way how repeated information gets stored in a chemical way, in DNA, as genes or as other information in ncDNA, or in epigenome.

It is not only humans or chimps who have fight, hierarchy, hormones and high or low blood pressure. It is basically own to all species, all biological species. Some scientists made experiments with sweet water crabs. They found out that males make fights and display their feelings by having their tail up or down. Tail up means a dominant crab and a tail down means submissive crab. Scientists gather them and then let them fight, but always a dominant crab with another dominant crab, both at the beginning having their tails up. Of course, one of them must win and one must lose. Several weeks later the crab that lost started to display a tail down, he became submissive. The exact same but opposite happened when the scientists let two submissive crabs have a fight. Again one of them must have won the other one must have lost this one fight. They both were submissive at the beginning, but several weeks after this fight the one that won started to display the tail up, he became dominant.

So, what guides all the species is the position in the hierarchy in the group they are living in.
Out of that must come the question why is hierarchy so important, why all species strive for higher position in the hierarchy in their respective group.

The answer might be relatively easy, to survive, the last one might be eaten up by any kind of predator. This emotion of wanting to “live” might be the most important of all. And an observed habit can be that all those who are the last are eaten up by a predator, as the last ones are sick, ill, or in another way disabled, and therefore an easy prey.

The ability to see and judge the environment, the danger, coped with the will to live, organized in chemical structures of DNA, where the information about the own body as well as about the environment and also the information about the proper reaction are coded and stored.

In order to really understand this system we must find all the function of all the chemicals and also how they work not only itself but also in groups. This might be a kind of heroic, step by step work for this or even maybe the next century too.

Sunday, May 18, 2008



HIERARCHICAL DNA supporting evidence

Already many times and a long time ago I wrote several post and articles about MLM, multi-level memory in DNA. MLM is borrowed from multilevel marketing term used in economics, adjusted for DNA and its hierarchical system of storing information, where information of different importance is stored at different levels of memory in DNA. These levels are defined by the importance of information, and by different chemical system of storing of information.

When searching for more and more detailed information on microsatellites and minisatellites in DNA I came across this file about Repetitive DNA and I was shocked as for the first time in several years this is the first text about DNA stating that DNA is built up hierarchically.

Human satellite DNA is prone to be multimeric or
hierarchical in structure. Human _ satellite DNA
(centromeric) is typically 171 bp long present as
dimers (342 bp) or up to 16’mers (2736 bp) as the
repeating units. Generally less length variation than
minisatellites or microsatellites.

In this sentence on page 3 of the document there it is absolutely explicitly stated that DNA is hierarchical in its structure. This is a huge evidence for me and my ideas about DNA storing information in a hierarchical way.

I just only hope to be able to find some more evidence supporting my view of DNA.


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.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008



Epigenetics, stress, change in DNA

This article is nearly shocking, not because it shows something new, but because it only reveals facts I described already a long time ago.

So, this is a simple summary for those who have not had the chance to read my previous posts.

Every organism is exposed to some flood of information and it must decide which information to store and which not. This decision making is based on the simplest possible manner: the number of repetitions gives the level of importance of the repeated information.

The system of storing information is in a chemical way, in DNA. As there are different levels of importance of different information, there must be also different chemical ways to differentiate among these different levels of importance.

Because this coding and storing takes place in a chemical way there can be also chemical disturbances, so there must be a way how to minimize occasional damage to the chemical type of memory.

Genes are only 2% of DNA, 98% are other information, at present time subject to epigenetics. There can be several different levels of importance of information and therefore also several different ways of coding and storing such information, one can be in epigenetic level the other one in genetic level.

Genes usually do not alter fast and do not react to slight changes in the informational environment of organisms. Epigenetic information fluctuates much more. This ahs been already proved in studies of identical twins.

Stress brings about some chemical bodily response, and this response can damage or reinforce some other chemical systems in body, e.g. the stored information, that should be passed to the next generation. Lamarck is a good source of study for this idea. The guy was right.

As abuse involves stress, this is exactly what the article describes, and therefore it makes huge sense to avoid as much stress as possible. It may show up after many new studies that certain stress might be ok, but we still do not know, and this is only a guess, because we still do not understand how information is processed, coded, stored and referred to in DNA.

This is on purpose only a short way of explaining how this system might work, everybody can read about it in the internet, but it takes time to read myriads of studies on different but related topics.

Sunday, May 04, 2008



Hierarchy and prisoner’s dilemma

Prisoner’s dilemma
Games with dollars

This is meant as a remark to lecture 12 by Prof. Paul Bloom in Yale

10 us $ one offer is between 0 and 10, the other person can accept or reject the offer, if the offer is accepted then, it goes as said, if reject no one becomes anything. The game can be played once or in a row of 5 or ten tries. The problem is rationality, it is better to have only one dollar than no dollar, therefore even one dollar should be accepted, but…..if somebody is known as person who accepts low offers, then this person is exploited. So we should accept only offers of 4 or 5 dollars, thus making the amount of dollars obtained by both parties approximately equal.

This explanation is good but I can suggest one that I perceive as much better explanation and that includes even higher level of rationality. Well, actually lower, but the one that dominates the world of living creatures: the rationality of hierarchy. As we do not like to be much lower in the human hierarchy as the persons we usually meet, we do not accept offers lower than 4 dollars, as in such a case the difference in amounts of dollars obtained would be too high and caused unpleasant feelings about one’s own position in the hierarchy, it would be perceived as too low.

Thus we can see that we have double rationality, one based on simple rationality, that would force us to accept even one dollar out of ten, and the other based on the rationality of hierarchy, that prevent us from accepting indecent offer of one or two or three dollars. As accepting such offer would push us in comparison with the other person too low, we would not be equal anymore.

Therefore we can conclude that there is also rationality based on hierarchy, not only pure mathematical and logical rationality.



Hierarchy and SEX

Today there has been this interesting article about interclass sexual harassment. The scientist quoted offers several possible explanations to this. I believe there might be at least one additional and possible explanation. This would be that sex is used as means of expressing power, expressing one own’s dominance over the position of somebody else’s.

Actually, there cases known as suggested among dogs, where one male pretends copulation with another male dog. The explanation is relatively easy: the copulation is misused as expression of higher stage of hierarchy. The one in the “female” position is the “underdog”.

So in this case this might be the case. The only unusual thing is that it happens between two different animals, two different classes of animals.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Hierarchy IX


New evidence for the idea of hierarchy in human society and evidence for epigenetic heredity of such information

This morning I have got some interesting Google Alerts, one of them can be seen as extremely powerful evidence for hierarchy in the human society. Here is the excerpt and the link to the full text:

Last year, the neuroeconomics lab at Bonn released the results of a study of reward that involved scanning the brains of participants. What they found was not just that brains responded well to a reward. They found that brains responded even stronger to a reward that was better than the reward given to others. The experiment involved pairs of male volunteers competing for prizes on the same task. The BBC article about the research explains it well.

This shows that the comparison of perceived value on the reward one got himself with the award somebody else got is more powerful than the simple act of being awarded. This shows that we humans take award as “status symbol”. As we are awarded by higher authority, and who gets more is more valued by this higher authority, that means he is on a higher stair of hierarchy than the other one. And this matters to us, as it matters to all animals. Hierarchy is the base of a group of animals regardless how we name it.

The basic system of hierarchy works downwards not upwards. Nobody wants to be the last one. There are other studies about successful sportsmen, like McEnroe, who – as many others – confirmed that losing a game is far more intense feeling than winning a game. The rule has developed from the fact that predators usually catch the week ones from one group of animals that means young and disabled animals, ill, injured etc.

The signal for this handicap is that the animal is the last one in the group. And we have completely inherited this trait. We are animals, and we have inherited some “social” traits that were passed over to us already several million years ago.

This in turn is strong evidence for the idea that all important information is passed over in some kind of a code, and this code might be epigenome. The mankind is just at the very beginning of understanding at least something about the way how information is stored in DNA, aside of genes.

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