Genopsych

Genopsych- the self programmability of genome

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Abstract

The properties of DNA Self assembly/ self repair and self replication are the genetic basis of the primary instincts self preservation and procreation. Self programmability and consciousness are the properties of the genome.

Consciousness

Frederic Peters 1 describes consciousness as, I-ness, Now-ness and Here-ness. In his words: As the primary reference frame of active waking cognition, this recursive I-here-now processing generates a zone of subjective self-awareness in terms of which it feels like something to be oneself here and now. The consciousness Peters referring is the consciousness related to the brain. We know that the brain and body are developed from a single cell embryo. All the information / programmes required to develop the brain are in the genome [of the embryo] and genome expectedly interprets the information and executes the programmes that result into the development of the body and the brain. For example gene complexes bi thorax, BX-C and antennapedia, ANT-C are reported 2, 3 to play a central role in programming the development of organism. Further biological rhythms in an organism are due to gene clocks 4 which are automatically aligned with the external planetary rhythms. The alignment of bio-rhythms with planetary rhythms suggests that the gene clocks in fact sense the external environment.

Thus it is from gene clocks the organism senses the time [Now-ness] and its own location [Here-ness]. If brain has consciousness, genome which constructed the brain must also have a precursor form of consciousness with genomic i-ness which is the spring head of the I-ness.

Genome

We know 5, 6 that DNA molecules show three extraordinary properties [a] they repair themselves [b] they produce their own replicates [c] some times during replication they produce variant types. The two properties, self repairing and replication of DNA are analogous to the primary instincts 7 self preservation and procreation. In other words self assembly/repair and self replication of DNA molecules are the genetic basis of the primary instincts self preservation and procreation.

DNA molecules have 8 adenine-thymine [A-T] and guanine-cytosine [G-C] nucleotide pairs fixed as sequences along the twisted double helix. G is bound [triple bond] more strongly to C than A to [double bond] T and hence we expect the presence of more G-C pairs as favored by chemical thermodynamics which surprisingly is not the case. If G-C and A-T pairs are sequenced randomly then we expect G-C and A-T pairs to be at 50% each. This is also not the case. In fact the G-C pair content in higher organism is in the range of 40% to 45%. Volkenshtein notes 8 : The replacement of the pair A-T by G-C is evidently thermodynamically favorable since G is bound to C more strongly than A to T. If it were for thermodynamics alone, the relative G-C content in DNA should have increased during the evolution.

Let us look 9-14 at the organization of the genome. The genome of mammals and birds are reported to have a G-C content varying from 30% to 60%. Further the genome may be classified into [putative] isochors [regions or fragments] with varying content of G-C pairs. The G-C content in some putative isochors is as low as 30%. The isochors are non randomly arranged i e the genome is structured from the point of view of isochors. With stable [G-C rich fragments] and unstable [A-T rich or G-C poor fragments] states the genome resembles an information processing device.

A bird in flight

Let us see the following example. An air plane on the ground is more stable than an air plane in flight. It takes a conscious effort to keep the air plane flying. An air plane in flight consumes fuel and requires a pilot. Well an unmanned air plane can also fly if suitably programmed [by some body] consciously. A bird on the ground is more stable than when it is in flight. A bird in flight is conscious. In other words an unconscious bird can not fly. The state of genome with more A-T pairs is similar to that of a bird or an air plane in flight. Thus genome consciously maintains more A-T pairs.

The conjectures

George Wald described 5 living organism as intricate machines during 1954. During 1980 Hanawalt said 6 that the mystery is not in the bio chemical reactions that go on in a living cell but in the programmed coordination of these myriad chemical reactions. In 1983 Volkenshtein wrote that if it is alone for thermodynamics G-C content in the DNA should have increased during evolution. Contrary to this, human genome apparently 12 losing G-C rich regions! These conjectures clearly indicate the inadequacy of laws that govern physical processes to explain genomic/ cell processes.

Stephen Hawking wrote 15 ,” The second law of thermodynamics has a rather different status than that of other laws of science, such as Newton’s law of gravity, for example, because it does not hold always, just in the vast majority of cases”. From the stand point of molecular statistics it may be stated 16 , “the self compression of a gas is not absolutely impossible”. This special version of second law of thermodynamics permits the first formation of ordered molecules such as DNA. But how these molecules continued to retain their order?

Genomic potential

We have already noted that genome is highly structured. But the genomic structure is not same as that of mineral structures which are static and periodic. Genomic structures are aperiodic and dynamic due to the self assembling and self replicating properties of DNA. The difference in the relative stabilities of A-T and G-C pairs provides the necessary potential to keep the genome dynamic. Genome must be self programmable and conscious to maintain this dynamic unstable state and such a proposition indeed resolves the conjectures of biology. It is this genomic potential that provides the drive for the instinct, procreation.

Thermo ionic diode and the N-P junction diode are quite different in their construction and operating mechanism yet they perform the same function the one way flow of electrons. In the same way despite the differences in their structures and operating mechanisms brain and genome can be conscious and self programmable at their respective levels.

Closing remarks

[1] The self assembly/repair and self replication properties of DNA molecules are the genetic basis of the primary instincts self preservation and procreation respectively. [2] The self programmability is the property of genome which imparts consciousness to the genome. [3] Genomic potential is the drive behind the process of procreation.

References

[1] http://precedings.nature.com/documents/2444/version/1

[2] Lewis, E.B., A gene complex controlling segmentation in Drosophila, Nature, 1978, Vol.276, 565-570.

[3] Lewis, E.B., Clusters of Master Control Genes Regulate the Development of Higher Organisms, JAMA, 1992, Vol. 267 No. 11, 1524-1531.

[4] Okamura, H., CIRCADIAN AND SEASONAL RHYTHMS – integration of mammalian circadian clock signals: from molecule to behavior, Journal of Endocrinology, 2006, 177, 3-6.

[5] George Wald, The origin of life, Molecules to living cells, W.H. Freeman and Company, 1980, San Francisco.

[6] Philip C Hanawalt, Protein Structure and Function: Assembly of Viruses and Ribosomes, 1980, ibid.

[7] Ernest Jones, Life and work of Sigmund Freud, Vol. 2, Basic Books Inc. 1960, New York.

[8] Volkenshtein, M.V., Bio physics, MIR Publishers, 1983, Moscow.

[9] Galtier, N., Piganeau, G., Mouchiround, D., and Duret, L., GC-content Evolution in Mammalian Genomes: The Biased Gene conversion Hypothesis, Genetics. 2005, 2001, 159: 907-911.

[10] Bernardi, G., et al, The mosaic genome of warm blooded vertebrates, Science, 1985, 228: 953-958. Cf (9)

[11] Bernardi, G., Isochors and the evolutionary genomics of vertebrates, Gene, 2000, 241: 3-17, cf (9)

[12] Arndt, P.F., Hwa, T., Petrov, D.A., Substantial Regional Variation in Substitution Rates in the Human Genome : Importance of GC content, Gene Density, and Telomere-Specific Effects, J. Mol. Evol. 2005, 60: 748-763.

[13] Cohen, N., Dagan, T., Lewi stone and Graur, D., GC-composition of the Human Genome: In search of Isochors, Mol. Biol. Evol. 2005, 25 (5): 1260-1272.

[14] Meunier, J., and Laurent Duret, L., Recombination Drives the Evolution of GC-content in Human Genome, Mol. Biol. Evol. 2004, 21 (6): 984-990.

[15] Stephen Hawking, 1987, A Brief History of Time, Bantam Books, Toronto. [16] Yeremin, E.N., Fundamentals of Chemical Thermodynamics, MIR Publishers, 1983, Moscow.

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