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Researcher of Knowledge 03-25-2007 12:44 PM

Is deoxyribonucleic acid simply a unique id or does it
actually tell your cells how to form? If it is simply just a birthmark so to speak, then how does life really develop and gain intelligence?

And if it is actually cell development and growth tutor or set of "instructions", how is it that that acid can (which is just a chemical?), make such complex, intelligent life, organisms, cells, nuclei?

Hemanth K 03-25-2007 01:54 PM

It is not just acid mind it!! It is everything that controls life.It solely codes for proteins which in turn perform vital functions in your body and proteins are indispensable.The proteins in turn perform other functions to carry on your life.Complexity is because of the proteins and intelligence is not only in genes but also in the environmental conditions in with any person in brought up.He gains knowledge and experiences as he grows and gets older.All other features like cell structure, complexity,life span etc. is goverened by DNA.But there are exceptions in few cases.

Vincent G 03-25-2007 02:12 PM

DNA is a very long molecular chain, the number of base pairs is about 3 billion. There are bits of DNA that describe what color the hair and the eyes should be, but also bits that describe how the heart is to be shaped, and how the liver is supposed to handle glucose.
And yes, there are bits of the DNA that control how each cell is supposed to work, and how the original single cell is supposed to multiply and differentiate into different organ and so on. So, your liver cells do contain DNA that was meant to tell how bone marrow is to produce red blood cell, and information that is irrelevant to the liver itself.
As to how a simple compound can indicate so many things, how about this answer here? It is made of only 26 very simple letters, and actually, in computer encoding, each letter is a succession of 8 bits that can either be 1 or 0, yet they are organized in a structured answer that is supposed to have meaning (and hopefully not too many typos). Simple things in great quantity that are organized in a special way is what makes complexity.

As to how exactly all this works, well there are very smart men and women looking into that and trying to figure it out. If you are curious for such thing, how about getting a degree and joining them? Who knows, you may be the discoverer of the cure for cancer, or something as valuable.

gaurav m 03-25-2007 02:18 PM

woh ! a nice question
its just not a chemical like sulphuric acid or nitric acid
if really don' know then i can tell u
dna is a very complex structure which gives rise to proteins , our building blocks
these are the proteins which decides what to form or what not
to understand how all this works u need to study atleast a thousand of pages which i have at home
so being brief , u must knopw that dna is made up nucleotides linkes together by peptide bonds i.e., -CONH- bonds
nucleotides are made up of
1. PURINES - they are further of two types -adenine (A) and guanine(G)
2. PYRIMIDINES-they are also of 2 types -cytosin (C) and thyamine(T)
A is double bonded with T and C is triple bonded with G
they are arranged randomly and its the sequence of their arrangement only which decides everything regarding our structure and even our species
each combunation of 3 nucleotides forms the base pair which decide which protein is to be formed which to be inhibited
a slight change or misplacement in their order can ruin somebody's life
it is double stranded and has millions ofcombinations which decides hair , eye color and other morphological features
the story is very long can u plz mail me it will take around 300 more words to explain the exact functioning
but i can assure u that u will have ur every answer regarding dna

Doctor Why 03-25-2007 02:45 PM

I see what you're asking here. But you're missing some steps. Allow me to elaborate...

First of all, there two very important qualities of DNA and RNA which make them as significant as they are: they can match up and thereby duplicate themselves, and they can fold into three-dimensional shapes. If they lacked either of those qualities, they would be of little interest at all.

The first property, duplication, can be observed with little interference... even without the interference of a cell. Most chemical reactions proceed because the molecules involved fit together in a certain way that allows their bonds to change and produce different molecules. Nucleic acids tend to force amino acids and other sundry chemicals into a likeness of themselves.

They aren't the only things that do this. Prions are another example. These proteins can produce other proteins like themselves. That is how Mad Cow Disease works - a duplicating protein ends up in your brain and subverts regular proteins which are supposed to be there into duplicates of itself. Prions, however, are pretty much always the same shape.

Not so with nucleic acids. A nucleic acid can fold into shapes. And because chemistry relies on molecules fitting together just so, some of those shapes can work like machines: they can only allow certain kinds of molecules to interact, and they can physically bend and strain them to make otherwise unlikely reactions possible. Chemists call this kind of thing a catalyst - a chemical that makes some reactions go much faster but largely remains the same itself.

So if you start stringing together random bits of RNA and DNA, you will get things that can turn into machines. And some of those machines will do very interesting things, even if most of them are junk. If you find a machine that can then also protect the nucleic acids that made it, or can help those nucleic acids duplicate, or similar things like that, you can bet that over time you're going to see a LOT more of the nucleic acids that produced those machines.

If you think about it, that's all that the massive complexity of life is. Just different ways to produce more of the same DNA. DNA that can support all the complicated functions of a cell has an advantage over DNA that doesn't, so you can expect to see more of it around. So too with cells that can clump together and aid each other, and also with whole creatures the clump together and aid each other.

But don't kid yourself. Intelligence and complexity are OBVIOUSLY not necessarily the optimal solution for making lots of DNA. If it were, we'd see a lot more of it around, wouldn't we? Instead, we see a lot of other kinds of things that are easier to produce and far less likely to cause whole populations to make themselves extinct (like beetles). The jury is still out on us, too.

Just remember - the DNA doesn't make anything massively complex. It just makes RNA, which in turn can make proteins. It is the amounts and interactions of these proteins which produce all the apparent complexity, just as a few keys on a typewriter can produce not only one, but several languages.

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