Funny thing about DNA science: when huge breakthroughs get proclaimed, they generally only lead to more questions and collapse into hype upon any serious scrutiny.? Likewise, when baffling new mysteries are announced, they tend to point the way towards a fuller understanding of the DNA cipher. Case in point — this weekend’s headline, Mysterious DNA Found to Survive Eons of Evolution.
The precise term is “ultraconserved sequences,” and as one observer on the RI forum eloquently summarized it, “this mutation-free DNA has shared eveolutionary benefits through out the entire class Mammilia without producing a visible or identifiable shared characteristic.” More meat from the article itself:
…about 500 regions of our DNA have apparently remained intact throughout the history of mammalian evolution, or the past 80 million to 100 million years, basically free of mutations. The researchers call these mystery snippets “ultraconserved regions,” and found that they are about 300 times less likely than other regions of the genome to be lost during the course of mammalian evolution.? “These regions seem to be under intense purifying selection – almost no mutations take hold permanently,” said researcher Gill Bejerano.
Technoccult readers might also be interested in the lucid heresy of Dr. Andras J. Pellionisz, author of the Fractogene website. This new discovery connects quite perfectly with the Pellionisz theory that genes aren’t a sequential list of instructions but rather a fractal and iterative template for organic growth. I would also highly recommend the work of Chris King, who’s been making the same assertion about the fabric of the entire universe.? He recently published a dense but readable 7 page summary of his work, Why the Universe is Fractal, that’s worth printing out and chewing over.
October 13, 2008 at 6:12 pm
I don’t think much of this is particularly surprising or perplexing when you move away from strict genetic determinism, but it is interesting nonetheless. It would be good to see some epigenetic studies focusing on these “ultraconserved sequences”, and their actual expressions. As a compliment to the above heresies, I also recommend Sheldrake’s ideas regarding morphogenesis, and the necessity of some guiding “field”, along with Bruce Lipton’s elegant introduction to epigenetics.
October 13, 2008 at 6:54 pm
Also very tasty! Thank you Dan. I’m really digging this Lipton piece, gonna print that out and smoke on it.
I’d also add the Panspermia article about The Mystery of Introns, that’s an angle I always come back to.
October 21, 2008 at 4:44 pm
For more information about fractals see http://www.fractal.org/Fractalary/Fractalary.htm
October 21, 2008 at 4:52 pm
Good link, man, thank you. I also recommend Miqel’s gallery, still one of the most beautiful presentations I’ve ever seen.
October 22, 2008 at 4:44 pm
“Lucid heresy” by Andras J. Pellionisz could be published in peer-reviewed science journal once the originators of both the “Central Dogma” and “Junk DNA” mistaken axioms passed away (Ohno, 2002, Crick, 2004), Watson who subscribed to a watered-down version of “Central Dogma” retired, and Collins, having fessed up that by his NIH ENCODE results that “the scientific community will have to re-think long held beliefs”, himself retired from NIH, on his last days giving a web-interview “nobody is talking about Junk DNA anymore”.
The peer-reviewed “Principle” is available at http://www.junkdna.com/pellionisz_principle
October 22, 2008 at 4:50 pm
^^I love this dude, he is Google Alert clockwork.
Glad the world is catching up with you, sir.
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