Stephen Bové - Art, Technology, Right Action

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Information Vs. Operational Genes and Horitontal Transfers: We are all ONE...codebase...

Just in from

"Bacteria and viruses constantly exchange transposable chunks of DNA between species, thus making it possible for life forms to evolve faster than they would if they relied only on sexual selection or random genetic mutations.

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is a cross-species form of genetic transfer. It occurs when the DNA from one species is introduced into another. The idea was ridiculed when first proposed more than 50 years ago, but the advent of drug-resistant bacteria and subsequent discoveries, including the identification of a specialized protein that bacteria use to swap genes, has led to wide acceptance in recent years.

"We know that the majority of the DNA in the genomes of some animal and plant species – including humans, mice, wheat and corn – came from HGT insertions," Deem said. "For example, we can trace the development of the adaptive immune system in humans and other jointed vertebrates to an HGT insertion about 400 million years ago."

The new mathematical model developed by Deem and visiting professor Jeong-Man Park attempts to find out how HGT changes the overall dynamics of evolution. In comparison to existing models that account for only point mutations or sexual recombination, Deem and Park's model shows how HGT increases the rate of evolution by propagating favorable mutations across populations."

More here

There is also growing evidence that information in the genome is stored in TWO largely different categories: Informational (i.e., how to build an eyeball - this is the "genes") and Operational (i.e., when to build the eye, where, how big, how to maintain it and repair it etc.). It appears that the Operational DNA makes up a large component of the so called "junk DNA" (what hubris those junky scientists had to call it Junk! You'd almost think they did it to keep other people from studying it! "We don't get it, so it must be junk!" Idiots.) Its also becoming apparent that the Operational DNA evolves mostly in-situ, whereas the Informational DNA gets swapped and shared by many species. Amazing.

More here: UCLA


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