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Chuk15's Avatar Joined over 6 years ago
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Go to: DNA Garbage - could it actually be computer code?

Chuk15's Avatar Jump to comment 19 by Chuk15

Some of the junk (non-coding) DNA has a purpose, a very important one at that. Every time DNA replicates it gets shorter.

Why does it get shorter? Well, it has to do with how replication enzymes attach to the DNA. Imagine an unfurled strand of DNA as two parallel strings. During DNA replication an enzyme attaches to one of the strands. This enzyme then follows along the DNA, replicating it as it goes. However, the site where it attached isn't replicated. That leaves a piece of string (a few nucleotides) from being replicated. (this explanation isn't very accurate in the literal sense but something like this does happen.)

Over thousands of replications, these bits and pieces begin to add up. Junk DNA plays an important role in that it doesn't matter to the cell if the pieces of the junk DNA are lost. The normal useful DNA is safe for a time.

Updated: Sat, 12 Jun 2010 05:13:47 UTC | #479527

Go to: Self-incurred immaturity

Chuk15's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by Chuk15

I'm not sure I agree with this part of Kant's essay: "If I have a book to have understanding in place of me, a spiritual adviser to have a conscience for me, a doctor to judge my diet for me, and so on, I need not make any efforts at all. I need not think, so long as I can pay; others will soon enough take the tiresome job over for me."

I could be wrong, but is Kant actually saying here that it is not ok to allow experts to show you how to do things? Since I am not very well versed in nutritional science and I don't care to learn it at the moment (I'm already very busy in my daily life), wouldn't it make sense to allow someone who has done the work in the field to formulate your diet? Isn't that why we hire lawyers? It just makes sense to seek help from experts.

Fri, 11 Jun 2010 05:23:32 UTC | #479172

Go to: DNA Garbage - could it actually be computer code?

Chuk15's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by Chuk15

Just for clarification, DNA is often separated into multiple chunks. A chunk of this DNA when it is compacted called a chromosome.

The code for instincts is not something as simple as "the DNA from point A on this strand to point B on this strand codes for instincts", but is an extraordinarily complex pathway which involves many enzymes and proteins.

**For example, here is book devoted just to explaining Inorganic Microbial Sulfur Metabolism, 682 pages in length.

**Here's a video that explains just one simple biological pathway in a leukocyte.

**Life's complex. ^_**

DNA codes for protein products and RNA fragments. The end result after translating a piece of DNA is a molecule that changes the chemical reactions in your body in some way.

It's pretty nifty.

I've heard that in the realm of AI, the hard problems are easy and the easy problems are hard. It's easy to store the entire library of congress on your hard drive, but we still are having trouble figuring out how get a robot to walk on two legs.

Updated: Fri, 11 Jun 2010 05:05:23 UTC | #479166

Go to: Synthetic life: a breakthrough in genomics

Chuk15's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by Chuk15

Comment 7 by sarith21 :

It sounds to me like he's only written the operating system from scratch.

Does anyone know what's left to do before he can create the first artificial cell (as opposed to the first artificial DNA/RNA that can be successfully inserted into another cell)? 

I'm impressed even though they didn't start from scratch. They removed the genome from the bacteria and replaced it with a synthesized one. I think that we are still a long way from building an entire cell from scratch, but I think this is a good step towards that goal.

You see, fabricating an entire cell from scratch would mean creating many other cellular components besides the genome. I would assume the first cell created from raw materials would be prokaryotic (the simplest types of organisms). Eukaryotic organisms are incredibly complex and I would expect these to be synthesized long after prokaryotes are.

Prokaryotes lack the complex organelles a eukaryote houses. However, prokaryotes and life in general are still mind-boggling complex.

For example, this link shows a 516 page book JUST on the metabolism of sulfur in bacteria.

The biology you learn in high school and most courses in college are simplifying things a large amount. Keep in mind that every chemical reaction, every single step, is facilitated by an enzyme. In order to create an organism from scratch we would have to synthesize a very large number of just enzymes (large complex molecules that help reactions happen when they normally wouldn't).

I hope this helps.

Updated: Sun, 23 May 2010 15:03:51 UTC | #472739

Go to: How does atheism relate to, support, refute or has no bearing on my pacifism?

Chuk15's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by Chuk15

I do not like war, it disgusts me.

I am atheist, and my lack of believe in a god may contribute to my opinion. The thought of someone being shot and dieing while those around him or her don't care is unsettling.

Imagine your life slowly slipping away, you can feel warm blood pouring out of your bullet-ravaged jugular artery. Your town is in a state of panic as the invading troops ransack your home. You were shot because you just happened to be in the way. You're life is over. All your birthdays, school work, reading, playing was but for naught. As the soldiers leave your house, you die in a pool of your own blood.

I don't like war.

Wed, 19 May 2010 01:44:31 UTC | #471279

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