Artificial Life

Link from Foundations of Logic group to Genome article

Yep – can now synthesize and insert one of the key components.

Have yet to do the whole thing from scratch.

It will very probably happen, just hasn’t happened yet.

Still quite a few challenges to using this or similar approaches in indefinite life extension – we can’t yet accurately alter the secondary and tertiary modulators of gene expression; and we need to get that sorted.

[followed by – Pawel stated “The genome isn’t a working/functional component”…]

Hi Pawel,
This is something I do know a little about. I completed 3rd year biochem at age 18 a long time ago, and have maintained an interest.

Much of the machinery of protein synthesis is actually RNA chemistry. Modern ribosomes are usually a mix of RNA and protein, and some organisms still have ribosomes that are 100% RNA.
So RNA genome/chemistry can be a working system. DNA has far greater fidelity over time, so has been selected for in complex organisms as the preferred long term memory system, and RNA can have sufficient fidelity to achieve sustained replication (look at all the RNA viruses that are still doing well).

And there are many modulators of gene expression.

Methylation of the outer surface of a chromosome is one well studied pathway.

The secondary and tertiary folding of DNA, and the areas that are exposed as a result are another influence on the frequency of expression and of mutation.

The analogy of book is sometimes useful, and always inadequate.

Yes certainly, there is information in the sequence, and there is also information and function in the structure. And there is a relationship between sequence and structure, but it is not a simple one, and it is very dependent on the chemistry of the environment in which synthesis occurs.

So sometimes the particular context at critical times in a sequence is important (hence the need for a womb with constant physical and chemical conditions for the development of humans, and the common ways it can go wrong – like fetal alcohol syndrome as one example).

As a simple example, the sex ratio in many reptiles is very dependent on temperature during incubation, not simply the genetic sequence.

So yes – there is information in several levels of RNA and DNA, and in respect of RNA in particular there are several levels of function.

There is also information in the wider environment, and it is the interaction of these sets of information that determine the range and success of any organism.

Most organisms still have RNA based catalysts as part of their chemistry, though protein based catalysts are now much more common.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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