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DNA was first isolated by the Swiss physician Friedrich Miescher who, in 1869, discovered a microscopic substance in the pus of discarded surgical bandages. As it resided in the nuclei of cells, he called it "nuclein". In 1919, Phoebus Levene identified the base, sugar and phosphate nucleotide unit.Levene suggested that DNA consisted of a string of nucleotide units linked together through the phosphate groups. However, Levene thought the chain was short and the bases repeated in a fixed order. In 1937 William Astbury produced the first X-ray diffraction patterns that showed that DNA had a regular structure.
All Languages and Codes Have Four Components
Regardless of what kind of communication we are talking about those four things are present in that communication. Alphabet, grammar, meaning and intent. And nearly all languages have error correction or redundancy.
English is about 50% redundant, which means if you're talking on your cell phone and its cutting in and out and in and out, if you can hear every word you can still pretty much figure out what's being said. If you lose more than that you really can't.
Where does redundancy come from? If you take a word out, you can fill it in from the context. Your mind can fill in the difference. Most of you never thought of this, but in when you're on the internet or getting and receiving emails there's a whole collection of mechanisms that are put in the communication back and forth to ensure that errors are corrected before they get to you. This is common to almost all languages.
Is DNA a pattern? Or is it a language?
DNA is an encoding and decoding system. DNA molecule represents more than itself; it represents an entire living organism. It doesn't just represent Adenine. It represents you or it represents a rabbit or a squirrel or a snake.
It has alphabet and syntax and semantics and pragmatics, or to use less technical terms alphabet, grammar, meaning and intent. It can be copied and even stored in other media with no loss of information.
I used to work for a company that made DNA sequencers. Their machines would go through and figure out what all the letters were in a strand of DNA. You could store that on a computer disk, and somebody in the lab could take the right chemicals and they could put those back and they could end up with a clone of the organism. Because the information in DNA is information is something distinct and separate from whatever it is stored in.
Components of DNA
So the bridge between the edges of the helix is made of a combination of four chemicals, Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine and Guanine. Which I will abbreviate as A, T, C and G. Those are the letters of the DNA alphabet. A, C, T, and G encode all information necessary for life. In the simplest tiny microorganisms it takes 500,000 letters to represent a living organism. It takes five hundred thousand A's, or C's, or T's, or G's.
In a human it takes three billion (3,000,000,000) of those letters to represents a copy of you, and there is one of those three billion letter messages inside every cell in your body. (By the way modern technology, to date, has not produced an information storage mechanism that is more dense than DNA.) All the information in your hard drive is a lot bulkier than the information in your cells.
So DNA is not just a molecule, DNA is a language. It is actually very comparable to English and human languages in the way that it is structured. Here is a little chart and it shows the comparison between human languages and DNA. The nucleotide is the A, T, C, G.
DNA Language -Human Language
DNA is encoding, decoding mechanism that stores and transmits the message of the living organism. Biologists have actually been using linguistic analysis to decode the human genome. Tools that we must use to analyze languages are continually being used to figure out what all of those genes actually mean.
So if you read some article in the newspaper it says we found a gene that causes Spina Bifida or something like that, some kind of linguistic analysis was used to help figure that out.
Presently, only the function of a few percent of the DNA is known, the rest has been believed to be useless garbage, commonly called "Junk DNA" by molecular biologists.
Increasing evidence is now indicating that this DNA is not "junk" at all. Especially, it has been found to have various regulatory roles. This means that this so-called "non-coding DNA" influences the behavior of the genes, the "coding DNA", in important ways.
You've probably heard of a molecule called DNA, otherwise known as "The Blueprint Of Life". Molecular biologists have been examining and mapping the DNA for a few decades now. But as they've looked more closely at the DNA, they've been getting increasingly bothered by one inconvenient little fact - the fact that 97% of the DNA is junk, and it has no known use or function! But, an usual collaboration between molecular biologists, cryptoanalysists (people who break secret codes), linguists (people who study languages) and physicists, has found strange hints of a hidden language in this so- called "junk DNA".
So the scientists looked at a very long bit of DNA, and made artificial words by breaking up the DNA into "words" each 3 rungs long. And then they tried it again for "words" 4 rungs long, 5 rungs long, and so on up to 8 rungs long. They then analysed all these words, and to their surprise, they got the same sort of Zipf Law/straight-line-graph for the human DNA (which is mostly introns), as they did for the human languages!
There seems to be some sort of language buried in the so-called junk DNA! Certainly, the next few years will be a very good time to make a career change into the field of genetics.
Continued in the following post.
Continuation of the opening post.
The function of over 95 percent of our DNA is still a mystery. That is, we have spelled out the code, but have discovered that most of it does not code for proteins. Genes can be separated by a vast desert of noncoding DNA, which is sometimes called “junk” DNA. But is it useless? Probably not, because included among noncoding sequences are the crucial promoter regions which control when genes are turned on or off.
The human genome has more noncoding DNA than any other animal known to date and it is not clear why. At least half of the noncoding sequence is made up of recognizable repeated sequences, some of which were inserted by viruses in the past. These repeats may provide some genomic wiggle room. That is, long stretches of noncoding DNA provide a playground for evolution. It may be a huge selective advantage to have all that raw material available to mutate and eithermodify existing traits and behaviors or express new ones all together. Humans are characterized by the ability to be flexible and to adapt quickly, so our junk DNA is potentially a priceless contribution to our humanness.
Amazing revelations about DNA
As scientists began to decode the human DNA molecule, they found something quite unexpected—an exquisite 'language' composed of some 3 billion genetic letters. "One of the most extraordinary discoveries of the twentieth century," says Dr. Stephen Meyer, director of the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Wash., "was that DNA actually stores information—the detailed instructions for assembling proteins—in the form of a four-character digital code" (quoted by Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator, 2004, p. 224).
It is hard to fathom, but the amount of information in human DNA is roughly equivalent to 12 sets of The Encyclopaedia Britannica—an incredible 384 volumes" worth of detailed information that would fill 48 feet of library shelves!
Yet in their actual size—which is only two millionths of a millimeter thick—a teaspoon of DNA, according to molecular biologist Michael Denton, could contain all the information needed to build the proteins for all the species of organisms that have ever lived on the earth, and "there would still be enough room left for all the information in every book ever written" (Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, 1996, p. 334).
Who or what could miniaturize such information and place this enormous number of 'letters' in their proper sequence as a genetic instruction manual? Could evolution have gradually come up with a system like this?
However, DNA is not a language, in any sense, because it does not represent concepts or meanings, a language entails that abstracts represent concretes, such as a number 5 written on a piece of paper, which has “meaning” to an entity which can understand what “5” means. Nothing analogous is found in DNA, since it is only a substitution cipher, which represents the order of amino acids in a protein, or RNA nucleotides in an RNA molecule. There is no abstract representation or assigned meaning going on with a direct physical substitution cipher, like DNA. When a stop codon orders a ribosome to stop transcribing, the ribosome does not “understand” that it has to stop transcribing, because it is just a ribosome. Nor does the nascent polypeptide “understand” that it is being hydrolyzed. Nor do tRNA “understand” that they must bind to their respective codons on mRNA. There is no transmission of conscious understanding, no abstract communication that entails one entity interprets symbols because it has the same understanding as the entity which communicated them. In this regard, DNA is not a language by definition. All that is happening is that the stop codon does not contain the binding site for any tRNA, but it does contain the binding site for the release factors which terminates translation because it causes the nascent polypeptide to hydrolyze an ester bond as they catalyze this hydrolysis reaction and release from the subunits of the ribosome.
"Our hypothesis is that a higher extraterrestrial life form was engaged in creating new life and planting it on various planets. Earth is just one of them. Perhaps, after programming, our creators grow us the same way we grow bacteria in Petri dishes. We canâ€™t know their motives - whether it was a scientific experiment, or a way of preparing new planets for colonization, or is it long time ongoing business of seedling life in the universe. If we think about it in our human terms, the extraterrestrial programmers were most probably working on one big code consisting of several projects, and the projects should have produced various life forms for various planets. They have been also trying various solutions. They wrote the big code, executed it, did not like some function, changed them or added new one, executed again, made more improvements, tried again and again. Of course, soon or later it was behind schedule. Few deadlines have already passed. Then the management began pressing for an immediate release. The programmers were ordered to cut all their idealistic plans for the future and concentrate now on one (Earth) project to meet the pressing deadline. Very likely in a rush, the programmers cut down drastically the big code and delivered basic program intended for Earth. However, at that time they were (perhaps) not quite certain which functions of the big code may be needed later and which not, so they kept them all there. Instead of cleaning the basic program by deleting all the lines of the big code, they converted them into comments, and in the rush they missed few /* symbols in the comments here or there; thus presenting mankind with illogical growth of mass of cells we know as cancer."
Soon or later, we have to come to grips with the unbelievable notion that every life on Earth carries genetic code for his extraterrestrial cousin and that evolution is not what we think it is. This discovery may well shake the very roots of humanity - our beliefs in our concept of God and in our own power over our destiny. With the right paradigm, we may discover one day that all forms of life and the whole Universe is just one huge intellectual exercise in thoughts expressed mathematically, by Design, by Creator
Could the "junk" DNA also be some remnants from maybe other places in the universe if it arrived via panspermia? Or could life have evolved during time periods on this planet when current life form could not exist and evolved into what we are now? One thing that is almost certain in biology is that nature does not like to waste AT ALL!
Triplet–singlet spin communication between DNA nucleotides serves the basis for quantum computing.
Chemical Physics Letters; Feb2007, Vol. 436 Issue 1-3, p258-262, 5p
The nature of spin communication between DNA nucleotide pairs is discussed. The results are based on CIU (2×106 configurations, 6-311G∗∗ basis set) quantum chemistry computations at a constant temperature T =310K of complementary nucleotide pairs, guanosine–cytidine (G–C) and adenosine–thymidine (A–T) monophosphates, assembled into DNA fragments of different length. Calculations reveal alternation of low energy triplet–singlet (T–S) potential energy surfaces (PESs), assigned to individual nucleotides. In a narrow energy interval these PESs approach, showing repulsion and uncommon crossings. Complementary nucleotide pairing, a result of Watson–Crick hydrogen bonding, produces a global minimum in total energy, coming from the unique crossing between two singlet by nature PESs strictly around 310K. Interaction between non-complementary nucleotides reveals no minima and points rather to system destabilization. Computations show that regularly organized DNA is a structure of similarly oriented spins along each of its two chains, so that the resultant spin of the whole structure is equal to zero. Disordering in spin structure produces coherent effects, appearing in spin flipping, which serves the basis for constructing DNA-based quantum computing. [Copyright &y& Elsevier]