SYSTEM-LEVEL GENETIC CODES: AN EXPLANATION FOR BIOLOGICAL COMPLEXITY

John F. McGowan, Ph.D. jmcgowan at mail.arc.nasa.gov
Fri Feb 25 14:13:38 EST 2000


SYSTEM-LEVEL GENETIC CODES: AN EXPLANATION FOR BIOLOGICAL COMPLEXITY

By John F. McGowan, Ph.D.
Desktop Video Expert Center
NASA Ames Research Center
Mail Stop 233-18
Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000
E-Mail: jmcgowan at mail.arc.nasa.gov
Telephone: (650) 604-0143

(2/24/00 2:41 PM)

ABSTRACT

Complex systems with tightly coadapted parts frequently appear in living
systems and are difficult to account for through Darwinian evolution, that
is random variation and natural selection, if the constituent parts are
independently coded in the genetic code.  If the parts are independently
coded, multiple simultaneous mutations appear necessary to create or modify
these systems.  It is generally believed that most proteins are
independently coded.  The textbook rule is one gene for one enzyme.  Thus,
biochemical systems with tightly coadapted parts such as the blood clotting
cascade pose a difficulty for Darwinian evolution.  This problem can be
overcome if the current understanding of the genetic code is incomplete and
a system-level genetic code in which seemingly independent proteins are
encoded in an interdependent, highly correlated manner exists.  The methods
by which human beings design and fabricate complex systems of tightly
coadapted parts are explored for insights into the requirements for a
system-level genetic code.  Detailed examples of system-level codes for
networks of matching parts are presented.  The implications of identifying
and deciphering the system-level genetic code if it exists for the
prevention, treatment, and cure of heart disease, cancer, immune disorders,
and for rational drug design are discussed.

http://www.jmcgowan.com/Complex.pdf









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