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Thread: Macroscopic organic structures

  1. #1 Macroscopic organic structures 
    Forum Freshman Eldritch's Avatar
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    This is a question thread (again). I've been pondering this one for a little while.
    Given the fact that high school science has the irritating tendency to frequently dodge away from building the big, complete picture of the lessons, I've come to wonder something. DNA does nothing, as I have now been taught, but code out specific amino acids in specific orders to make proteins. What comes after that? Yay, a string of stuff! W00t!
    How the hootenheimer do those proteins combine in just the correct way to make, say, a human face? Is it that their properties are so specifically accurate that they bump around like a billiard ball just so and eventually make up an organism, rather than just a quivering blob of... stuff?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldritch View Post
    Is it that their properties are so specifically accurate that they bump around like a billiard ball
    That's about it. It's actually impressive that you understood that. Most people seem to think that it's all more intelligently organized.


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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    It is slightly more complicated (and not fully understood). DNA, or at least the chromatin, does more than just act as a storage repository that is passively read out. The structure of the chromatin and transcription of the chromosomes changes depending on its environment. Part of the environment is determined by the other cells around it. So you end up with a sort of chemical gradient across some cells which cause cells at one end to develop in one way (tail) and cells at the other end to develop in another way (head). The same thing happens at every level of detail within the body (bone versus blood vessel versus nerve tissue versus ...).

    Of course, the instructions to form those chemical gradients are also encoded in the DNA ...
    Last edited by Strange; May 17th, 2013 at 07:57 AM. Reason: clarification
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    ***** Participant Write4U's Avatar
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    SHF
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    proteins with specific destinations have sequenced coding signals

    Protein targeting - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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