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Thread: geometric DNA code

  1. #1 geometric DNA code 
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    playing around with some face generators on the computer, a thought occured to me.
    our DNA should technically contain detailed 3-dimensional geometric data
    about where everything in our body is.
    have biologists found these geometric coordinates?
    well, actually, our body should in theory contain the geometric date of
    gazillions of instances through a hundred years of life.
    if you think about life as an animation with billions upon billions frames a second, er, quantified, how quantified is the DNAs information?
    is it just an endless stream of information about every millionth of a second of our life, or does the DNA trigger key events? like, say at birth,
    we're keyed to grow, when we reach about 12 years, we're keyed to start puberty, and at age 40, we're keyed to start growing old?

    i know that DNA is basically just an enormous pile of binary digits.

    sorry for the poor formulation of my questions. having a bad brain day.

    i guess the basic question is, how is information stored in the DNA?


    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Not like that.

    It's more stored like a recipe. Put this and this together. stir. heat. add that. add that only here.

    A few signaling modules are responsible for creating all organs. There is no blueprint as such that there is a linear relationship.


    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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  4. #3  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    The closest you get to a geometric plan lies in the activity of hox genes. These determine the relative position of different organs and limbs along the axis of the body. But, to continue Spurious's analogy, that's more like building a layer cake than a house. The recipe analogy is an excellent one.
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  5. #4  
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    well, computer program code is very much like a recipe too.
    a recipe that contains geometric algorithms in some cases.
    you can get some pretty intricate and interesting results if you mess around with fractals. computer-generated trees and such.
    in other cases like poser, you have "recipes" for how a model of a human is supposed to look, and then with sliders you can adjust facial and body features as you like.
    i'm just pondering that the 0 and 1 of DNA would be similar to the 0 and 1 in a computer.
    but with computers, we have high-level languages to make our programs do what we want, with DNA, not so. we're still messing around on the most basic level. in the future, is it possible that we'd have a "high level DNA language" in the loosest terms possible, or even a "DNA user interface?"
    to simplify and ease generation of new lifeforms?
    there'd be the low-level genetical engineers to make the higher level stuff,
    and then you'd have genetic designers, doing the other things.
    maybe we'd be able to make mineral-producing glands, like
    making pearls from laboratory-created seashells, and fabricate teeth.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
    A.C Doyle
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  6. #5  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    i'm just pondering that the 0 and 1 of DNA would be similar to the 0 and 1 in a computer.
    0 and 1 are basically one and off.



    DNA is subdivided into 4 basepairs, each unique. Not quite on off of course but similarly bits of information.

    Maybe the developmental program can be compared to software like wordpress that works with loops. They use the same basic mechanisms to create loops that have the same structure but a different identity and content.

    However development is much more complex. The complexity is of such a level that I doubt it can ever be modeled with the aim of giving a prediction of the outcome for a whole organism. Knowing the identity of genes and their function is still pretty much useless knowledge in this respect. The regulation of developmental genes is highly sloppy (many regulatory elements, even the binding regions that do not conform to the official binding sequence can bind to certain levels, creating a cloud of possible and actual interactions. And developmental regulation works with lateral pathways influencing each other, not all of them even classical genes.

    The information in it is just ... immense. High throughput projects are being done as we speak to get some sense of all the cross talk, and flexibility in the regulation. And it is all rather... overwhelming.

    General messages are derived from these projects. Original questions that started these projects often not even answered turning these projects into a quest for complexity of complexity.

    In the end it will probably turn into something similar as modeling the universe. If you want to make perfect predictions you will have to model everything. For which you will need to build a computer bigger than the universe.

    You want to make a straight translation from DNA to form? You might have to build a computer bigger than 1 million universes to do so.

    It cannot be done?

    Maybe it can in specific cases. Sometimes you can make large changes in the DNA that will lead to small changes in the form. Not knowing exactly what is going on in these cases is acceptable. It is just a question of who wants to be the guinea pig.
    Similarly small changes in the DNA can lead to HUGE changes in form, even early death. Who wants to be the guinea pig?
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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