Notices
Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: DNA Information?

  1. #1 DNA Information? 
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    28
    When you hear people talk about the "information" in DNA, are they referring to the ordering/sequencing of the bases(AGCT)? The bases themselves are not information, correct? It is only information or instructions, once the bases are ordered properly, so are people talking about this order information, or the information that tells the bases how to be ordered?


    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2 Re: DNA Information? 
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    New Orleans
    Posts
    1,191
    Quote Originally Posted by juantonwan
    When you hear people talk about the "information" in DNA, are they referring to the ordering/sequencing of the bases(AGCT)? The bases themselves are not information, correct? It is only information or instructions, once the bases are ordered properly, so are people talking about this order information, or the information that tells the bases how to be ordered?
    There are multiple contexts for “information “ in DNA. I will talk about two.

    One context is derived from the fact that the base pair sequence makes up encoded language with both syntax and semantics forming the instruction or information set for cell construction and operation. In this context the bases are the letters or symbols used in this encoded language. As you surmised, the sequence only conveys information when the bases are properly ordered to allow for a functional system. Just as random letters and punctuation from our alphabet would not be expected to contain much information, random bases would not either.

    Other contexts for information that are a lot less useful come from data signal processing and data compression applications. This treatment considers the sequence as a data stream without regard for any meaning it might have (meaning in this case translating into functional cell processes). You might say this treats the DNA sequence as data, whereas information in this context would only come into play if the exact sequence were conveyed or duplicated since information about the data sequence is required in order to convey or duplicate the data sequence accurately. You might use this context to talk about how bases should be ordered to duplicate existing function.


    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,079
    A third is the simple notion that it is the DNA that determines (largely) phenotype. transferring the DNA to an enucleated egg for example will cause the egg to develop into the organism determined by the DNA that was transferred.

    This is the original meaning of the concept, also phrased as "DNA is the genetic material" which was not known ~70 years ago.
    Reply With Quote  
     

Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •