Sunday, May 21, 2006


Epigenetics, memetics, semiotics and evolution

Idea about memetics, semiotics, evolution and epigenetics

Epigenetics as one of few possible steps in the transportation of outside world information into genetic level and causing change in genes

I have several questions about genetics, which need some thinking. Some scientists maintain that genes are not changed. Well, when I consider evolution as granted then this cannot hold true, ever. At the beginning there were no “human” genes, only some chemicals. Later there were some genes, but extremely simple, then the set of genes started to develop. Today human genes are said being not the same as e.g. genes of a dolphin or a bear, or maybe a wale. Some might be pretty similar.

Epigenetics might be the right answer, considered under the aspect of evolution and time, long time of many millions of years. It seems as proven that biological units with the same DNA might demonstrate different traits, for example different colour of fur or skin. It seems that the information locked “over” the genes might be responsible for this phenomenon.

The whole chain of actions and reactions might function as follows: there is some influence coming from the “outside” world and affects the organism. Organism gets in a way used to the influence and “stores” the information about this influence somewhere in the “brain”. This lasts only during the life of that particular “biological unit”. When the unit dies, the information disappears too. This total “getting rid” of such acquired information would not be too helpful for the next generation. So there must be a way how the acquired information from the outside world gets stored in the original biological unit and passed over to the next generation.

This happens most probably in few different ways, out of which one is already known, the way through genes. This, in turn would of course mean that genes must change in the course of evolution. The time needed for the change in genes is too long , might take centuries or even more, depending on the number of generations in time, let’s say in a century, or expressed in another way, how long one generations lasts on average in different species.

Epigenetics might be the way how information gained from the outside world is stored “besides” genes, so that genes are not affected, as it is not yet clear enough if the specific information will last long enough to start up a change in genes.

If we consider the way of information in a chain starting with information from the outside world, this information is at first stored in brain, if the phenomenon lasts too long and is repeated many times ,m the information gets so much reinforced that it is stored next to the genes. If such information last even much longer, this information already stored next to the genes might be a starter for a change in genes.

If we admit this row of transport of information from outside world to genes via epigenes, then it is only a small step to the idea that there are more steps needed to transport the information from the outside world to genes. There might be two or more steps between the first information stored in brain until it gets to the epigenetic level. There might be as well two or more steps of which we no nothing yet between the level of epigenetics and genetic levels. So altogether there might be 5 or more steps needed to transport information from the outside world to the genetic level.

Tasks for the scientists could be to solve the problems how information is getting stored in brain, in bio-chemical way, then, how it gets to the epigenetic level. That means not influencing genes but influencing the way how genes demonstrate. This research might discover that there are more steps needed, then only , step one: information getting stored in brain, step two: information being transported from brain to epigenetic level, step three: information getting transported from epigenetic level to genetic level.

This chain of transport makes sense. It would be a disaster for evolution when every small, slightly different signal from the outside world would immediately change DNA. Chaos would break out, and the chances for surviving would get severely decreased. There must be a sort of “conservatism” in evolution. The information must prove to be worth changing genes. There must be several steps which information must pass before changing genes.

All this can be observed in normal life when we consider semiotics and memetics in a time, as they evolve. The same signal can create different responds according in what type of memplex it gets.

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