DNA as the carrier of information

Dick has sent me a link to a paper:

Brenner, S. (2012). The Revolution in the Life Sciences. Recognition of DNA as the carrier of information created a new fundamental dimension for viewing the natural world. Science *338*(6113), 1427-1428.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1232919

The main message of this short paper is:

Recognition of DNA as the carrier of information created a new fundamental dimension for viewing the natural world.”

On one hand there is no doubt that this is the case. On the other it is still unclear what information in this context means, see for example my recent post DNA to represent proteins. Further a selfish gene seems to preclude free will and meaning of life: Science: Free Will is Illusion and Aping Mankind

Further in the paper there is an interesting statement:
Biology is essentially (very low energy) physics with computation.”

Well, computation can hit back in an unexpected way. For example how then we know that we do not live in simulation: Computable Universes & Algorithmic Theory of Everything. This way biology by itself is just a part of evolving computation.

The conclusion in the paper is that

It is also why the whole of biology must be rooted in DNA, and our task is still to discover how these DNA sequences arose in evolution and how they are interpreted to build the diversity of the living world.”

To this end, I like The Genome Wager between Lewis Wolpert and Rupert Sheldrake

http://www.sheldrake.org/D&C/controversies/genomewager.html

I believe that a wager is the very right way in this case to proceed. Make your bet.


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  1. Dick Gordon says:

    Saturday, December 15, 2012 8:43 PM, Panacea, Florida, USA
    Dear Evgenii,
    I have stories to tell over a beer about both gentlemen, but in any case it is unlikely that either will live long enough to pay out their wager, given the 20-40 year projected date.

    I suspect both are wrong: embryogenesis is not so complicated, and morphogenetic fields do not require new physics. I suggest we just get on with our Embryo Physics Course and see what we can do.
    Yours, -Dick Gordon DickGordonCan@gmail.com