What Are Genes? Well, not what they thought… Yesterday.
NON-DNA INHERITANCE IS NOT JUST CULTURAL, BUT BIOLOGICAL:
A gene in a life form ought to be a mechanism or device which (partly) generates the life form.
Forget about restricting “genes” to DNA inside the nucleus, I am using a philosophical definition. It gives immediately rise to a mathematical definition of “genes”. A “gene” is any reproducible form.
Example: Prions. They reproduce a molecular form. They have nothing to do with DNA.
Do we know genes fully? Certainly not. That would mean we know fully the way a human being (say) is reproduced.
In the case of humans, it is said by those that everything we are comes from 35,000 genes they distinguish deep down inside. It seems unlikely that one can get so much from so little.
So is there more than those 35,000? Yes. First there are extranucleic genes, part of extrachromosomal DNA. There are also contributions from viruses, which can insert their own genes inside ours. Permanently. All these are part of Non-Mendelian Inheritance.
Moreover, let’s consider cellular division. “VEGETATIVE SEGREGATION” results from self-replication and then partitioning of cytoplasmic organelles. If one just look at the mass of what’s replicated, when a large organism is reproduced most of the mass is generated by this geometric copying. That’s also true for the smallest cell with organelles.
Now it turns out that centrioles are also an example of NON-DNA reproduction. They are transmitted by sperm, whereas mitochondria are transmitted by eggs.
The study just published, from Lausanne’s EPFL University, shows that centrioles can carry information over the generations.
Genetically modified versions of the worm C. Elegans, the one with Free Will, had three different centriole proteins tagged with a fluorescent signal. Tagged male worms were mated to untagged females. Scientists could specifically track centriole components that were contributed from the father during the course of embryogenesis.
Gönczy’s team imaged the fluorescent signals at different cell divisions of the developing embryos, and discovered that paternally contributed centriole proteins persist up to ten cell generations. Centrioles are persistent in the embryos. They are Non-DNA/RNA genetic information carriers.
“Centrioles have always been seen as something that just jumpstarts the development of the embryo,” says Pierre Gönczy. “Here we show that centrioles could be the means of a unidirectional inheritance of information, with considerable impact in early development.”
Several disease are known to originate in centrioles.
The evidence is strong for what I expected all along: organelles themselves are information carriers, and inheritance is not all about DNA. It’s the entire geometry of eukaryotic cell which reproduces, DIRECTLY, geometrically, not just DNA.
That’s called a paradigm shift.
So much for the selfish gene, and similar philosophical reductions to the absurd, fed by provisional science. This shows how dangerous it is to devise hasty philosophy from poorly digested knowledge. We are not just our DNA.
Life reproduces, but life does not just reproduces digitally (that is, through DNA). Instead geometric, topological, and analogous reproduction is also at work.