DNA and the neuron

ray scanlon rscanlon at nycap.rr.com
Wed Sep 8 16:41:40 EST 2004


I am starting a new thread. "The liver and the brain" was overrun by
trash talk.

r norman writes:
 
> Neither development nor C. elegans are in my area, so I only know some
> generalities.  The major feature is that environmental cues such as
> pheromones or high temperature (27 C) can trigger a resting stage in
> larval development, the Dauer stage or diapause.
 
(snip) 

> Also, C. elegans is capable of associative learning, context specific
> habituation, and other plastic changes in behavior.  This is not
> development, but does illustrate that an animal that is so highly
> constrained genetically also shows a learned component to its normal
> behavior.

NvN is with us forever. Very respectfully, I suggest a different view.
The DNA survived. Therefore, we may say that it is structured to
survive; the proof being that it survived. Fiddle-Dee-Dee.

The DNA constructs a nervous system. The proteins that the DNA
produced have the ability to modify the synapses that the proteins
form. The proteins have the ability to extend axons, composed of
proteins, and form new synapses. This is spoken of as a "learned
component". The artificial distinction between the formation
(continual) of the nervous system by the proteins and the modification
(continual) of this nervous system by the proteins is an arbitrary
academic exercise.

DNA may have evolved that survived in the presence of other DNA
molecules. We say that this DNA requires other DNA molecules to
survive. This leads to the distinction between altricial and
precocial, another academic exercise.

The DNA that produced a nervous system that survived in a past
environment produces the same nervous system. That today's environment
closely matches the past environment is a glorious happenstance.

Human DNA produces an altricial nervous system that is perfectly
constructed to survive in its mother's arms (another DNA
construction).

Is this too extreme a view? Does it fail the pc test?	

ray



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