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Industry Discussions / Biotechnology
|Subject: A new language to speak....||Date: 2/26/2000 7:10 PM|
|Author: igo4ward||Number: 2883 of 24963|
It is an incredible time, technological advancements in parallel industries will soon reap the fruit of their discoveries. The connected world economy thanks to the internet, the social changes to come, the destruction of cultural and language boundaries to follow. Society will change at an accelerated rate, hopefully, the structure of human society today will be resiliant to the level of change. I envision that the community aspect of the internet will serve as the glue to keep us from being destroyed by the power of these technologies. But what of the next revolution???
Biotechnology, Celera races forward on decoding the book of human life. What they are seeking is not just the completion of a "sequencing" exercise that is commonly refered too in the media. Sequencing is the antithesis of programming. In programming a set of formal instructions are created conforming to a grammer and expressions of that grammer using specific syntax; the purpose of which is to allow very fine grained control of the systems of a computer, to solve problems,write papers,connect to other computers and create beautiful simulations of real world situations. Programming languages allow us to play God within the confines of our computer systems. There is little that can't be done given the time and ingenuity. It all depends on how well the programmer can "speak" the lanmguage.
And so it is, with DNA, Watson and Cricks discovery nearly 50 years ago. Little known, and still little understood by many, DNA; is the code of biological organisms. The connections of the bases, Adenine, Guanine, Cytosine and Thymine determine in various sequences how protiens are expressed to amino acids. This is analogous to the role of statements in programming languages. The only difference is the fact that in programming we determine the grammer and syntax of the language, and by conforming to it, by "speaking" it we are able to communicate our imaginations desires to the heart of the computer. We can teach it to speak, through natural language programs, teach it to play music, teach it to draw beautiful three dimensional worlds simulating our own with startling realism. Humans have become experts at speaking the languages of computers because humans are the one's that designed the syntax. Not so with DNA.
The base pairs united in DNA, encode the complexity of all life forms. From Viral agents to Birds, Insects to RedWood trees. Intra-celullarly we are all composed of DNA, the instructions of our various systems operations, DNA is our 'code'. Learning to "speak" the language that DNA was coded in, is the prize that Celera seeks. When complete Celera will have the largest program ever written before them. Their job??? To figure out what it means, how it works, what everything does. In the last 100 years we have been incredibly successful and insightfull in applying biological means of curing our diseases and probing our malafflictions, the development of penicillin, the use of vaccines, and more recently determining genetic succeptability. But knowing that Breast Cancer runs in my family is not a cure for it, it is not preventative medicine for my grand-daughter yet to be born.
Enter Celera again,they are working on deciphering the code behind our workings, our efficient biological systems and our abberant ones. (As in the case of Cancer) Knowing the code, and the language that it is encoded in, will allow us to 'speak' the language of biological organisms and create or modify them towards any imagined end. Commonly on these boards, it is mentioned that Celera hopes to sequence the genes in an effort to sell the information to drug companies for the development of drugs. But these drugs are not the same as your Tylenol pill, no , these drugs may contain instructions to be added to the genes in the lining of your stomach to create less acid and eliminate heart burn, or these new drugs may contain modifications to the genetic code in your brain, for the purpose of producing the correct amount of domanine to prevent alzheimers disease, or yet again, these drugs can contain code that is incorporated into your genes for the purpose of naturally changing your eye color from Dark Brown to Bright Blue. The possibilities are endless, once we know the code of life, and how to 'speak' its language we will have finally learned to control and create nature.
Celera has before it, a book of encrypted information akin to hyrogliphs before the Rosetta stone, the only difference is, the Rosetta stones to allow it to be deciphered are everywhere.
It's time to speak a new language.
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