Recognizing a Keen Insight - my first Guest post of a sort...

This takes me all the way back to the idea of time and procedural development: DNA just exists, it can be modified by RNA and proteins to exist in a different state, but itself acts as nothing more than memory [short term (epigenetic modification) and long term (mutation)]. "Life" is the procedural existence of this memory and is influenced by the interaction of inputs with this memory.
Jared from Mors dei left this little snippet attached at the end of our last discussion thread. I repost it here because I think it is rare that such a keen insight is ever so succinctly stated in the blogosphere. Think about this one.


pboyfloyd said...


Jared said...

I certain hope this metaphor isn't misunderstood as the "DNA code" so often is...

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

I certain hope this metaphor isn't misunderstood as the "DNA code" so often is...
I think your point is very clear actually.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

I also like the memory metaphor since so much of the history of life is archived in active and inactive strands of DNA

Harry C Pharisee said...

I can't believe I actually understood that.

The 'science' and the metaphor.

Scratch that, I have no idea what epigenetic means... well slap me on the ass and slip a dollar into my g-string, the god google told me that might have something to do with phenotypic variation?

If it doesn't, let me down gently, I'm a slow healer.

Michael Lockridge said...

I hope this constitutes a contribution to the discussion. My intuitive/mystical reaction is in the form of a question and an image.

"What makes a house a home?"

Popeye stating, "I yam what I yam..."

Reformed into a more formal inquiry, how does this relate to human self-awareness, the concept of self, and the relationship of that self with the outside world?

If DNA is represented as the "house," what represents the "home?"

I am probably way off base and wandering in a completely different direction than intended, but I thought I would throw something in from a different perspective.

Jared said...

Epigenetic modifications fall into three (or more, depending upon how you split them) groups:
1) heritable modification of histones in gametes
2) developmental activation/deactivation of pathways necessary for c ofellular differentiation
3) signaling induced phenotypic changes

The main point is that it is a phenotypic variation without a genotypic change.

It is essentially "environmentally responsive developmental pathways."

The developmental ones are necessary for omnipotent stem cells to become pluripotent stem cells and for these to become cell line progenitors and then for these cells to further differentiate into specialized cells. Nearly all macroscopic organisms exhibit some degree of developmental epigenetic modification (even sponges).

The third one relates to changes of an entire organism's phenotype as a result of environmental changes.

The difference between the first and third is that the epigenetic state of the gametes determines (mostly) the phenotype in the first while the change occurs during development in the third.

Sent via semaphore

pboyfloyd said...


I should have saved my, "My GOD this is doomed!" comment for this one.

Still, on T.V. right now, some pinhead is telling us how, 25 years ago, he was such a scamp! As if we care.

Okay, having put that in perspective, this is a little technical for general comment.