Happy DNA!

Most people know that DNA can fold, as it exists almost exclusively in its trademark double helix form.  Scientists have been able to take the 3-D properties of DNA macromolecules, using its backbone and base-pairing interactions, and fold it into novel shapes. 

The smiley face is a simulation, but I’d like to think that could happen.  Sometimes science doesn’t need a “point” … it just needs to draw cool stuff out of other cool stuff.

DNA In The Fold – Science News

…one of the strongest motives that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one’s own ever-shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought.

Albert Einstein

Craig Venter, the leading cataloger of the human genome, notes that only 3 percent of our genome consists of protein-producing genes, and the rest is “regulatory regions, DNA fossils, the rusting hulks of old genes, repetitious sequences, parasitic DNA, viruses, and mysterious stretches of who-knows-what.” (Venter is careful never to use the term junk DNA.) One truly selfish gene has made a million copies of itself, taking up 10 percent of our genome; it seems to have no function other than self-replication. Genetically speaking, humans are a fast-moving mess. So is everything else.

from Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto by Stewart Brand

I know I disagree slightly with some of the numbers and characterizations, but I’ve never quite thought of our genome’s contents in terms of an email inbox gone wild.  I have to think about that.  It’s an interesting thought … although it would have to be an inbox where the letter from your grandmother depended on the Nigerian Bank Scam and the Boner Pillz For Cheap email in order to even be legible.  I hope that isn’t what my inbox will become.

Lots of good thinking about the genome today.  Always feel free to ask me a question if there’s something you don’t understand about this, or anything I discuss.  I can’t guarantee clarity, but I always try :)

 Really, though, most genomes are like an unfiltered inbox, where three or four meaningful messages are surrounded by hundreds of scams and boner pill ads. Our genes are continually stumbling forward, not waltzing.

(via droob)

(via jtotheizzoe)