APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

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APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by APOD Robot » Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:07 am

Image DNA: The Molecule that Defines You

Explanation: Every living thing on planet Earth is defined by its own molecule -- what's yours? This molecule, called DNA, spans about two meters stretched out but is coiled into every cell in your body. The many copies of DNA that compose you were all copied from one single cell, and your body is continually making new copies. The above ground-breaking animated video depicts the tiny, amazing, bio-molecular machinery that makes these DNA copies. For a fee, it is now possible to find part of all of the code of the DNA molecule that defines you, but lively debates involving ethics may arise regarding whether you or anyone may own, disclose, patent, or copyright it. No one knows if DNA-like molecules will also define life that originates outside of Earth.

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Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by Beyond » Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:58 am

Well, this certainly is an amaseing APOD of 'inner' space! We're all the 'stars' of this APOD. 8-)
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Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by neufer » Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:12 am

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/researchers-write-book-using-dna/2012/08/19/9a84903c-e95b-11e1-a3d2-2a05679928ef_print.html wrote:
Researchers write book using DNA
By Hristio Boytchev, Washington Post: August 19

Researchers have encoded a full book in DNA, the largest amount of information stored on the biological medium yet.

<<The data encoded is the digital version of the book, made up of more than 50,000 words, 11 images and one computer program. The overall size of the data is around 0.7 megabytes, report the scientists, led by George Church of Harvard Medical School. For their work, the researchers have used only off-the-shelf technology.

In their article, published on-line by Science magazine, the scientists argue that DNA has unique advantages for data storage. They calculate that their method has by far the highest data density of any medium until now, beating flash media or even quantum holography by orders of magnitude. This is partly because DNA is three dimensional while other storage techniques are restricted to two dimensions.

Yet the main advantage of DNA storage may be durability. DNA can survive millennia unharmed, as demonstrated by the sequencing of genetic information from ancient fossils. At the same time, the tools and techniques necessary for reading out the information will be present in future generations, because they are ubiquitous in nature, the scientists write.

The main disadvantage at this time is expense. The authors admit that the cost and time needed to encode the information make it largely impractical at the moment, except for highly specific applications, like century-scale archiving.

But they point out that the cost of DNA synthesis and sequencing has been dropping by a factor larger than five each year, much higher than the rate for electronic media, albeit from a much higher starting point. The scientists conclude that DNA is becoming an increasingly practical storage medium, at a time when digital information is accumulating at an exponential rate.

For their work, the researchers split into pieces the information of the book “Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves,” co-written by Church. They then synthesized short DNA fragments of around 160 nucleotides — the bits in DNA. Each fragment carries part of the book, information about its position, as well as parts necessary for reading and replicating the piece.

In the process, the scientists have created 70 billion copies of the book. When reading out the information, the data was recovered with but 10 errors overall.

The first demonstration of encoding information into DNA dates back to 1988. Until now, the largest amount of data encoded in nucleic acid has been only 7,920 bits, around one-700th what Church’s team has accomplished. The authors report on a number of improvements over previous methods that make this feat possible, including a more flexible method of encoding data, using shorter and thereby easier to handle DNA pieces, and next-generation technologies for synthesis and sequencing.

For the future, the researchers propose improvements in compression and accuracy, to make the storage denser and less error-prone.>>
Art Neuendorffer

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Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by Donn » Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:13 am

Good APOD, and interesting animation.

But the last link "originates outside" links to a Daily Mail article that includes this bit of info
And whilst the exact conditions of meteorites are not known, they are thought to be warm and hydrated which would make comparable conditions to a young Earth.
Exact conditions may be unknown is somewhat correct, but "thought to be warm" and "comparable to a young Earth" sounds like a bit of nonsense.

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Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by Vincent Pinto » Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:41 am

And to believe this wrapping and replication just evolved? Let alone get to the stage where some human beings make the movies to show wrapping and replications. How nutty and irrational to Physics I was to once think so.

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Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:01 am

Vincent Pinto wrote:And to believe this wrapping and replication just evolved? Let alone get to the stage where some human beings make the movies to show wrapping and replications.
Indeed, it is the beauty and elegance of evolutionary processes that makes this kind of structure essentially inevitable. It is easy to see how people were utterly unable to comprehend life before Darwin set our minds in the right direction.
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Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by Guest76 » Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:21 am

Chris Peterson, your reply to Vincent Pinto is not really an answer to what he said. What studies show that evolutionary processes make this kind of structure essentially inevitable?
How could you have evolution without replicating DNA? If, somehow, you had a DNA molecule appear in a living cell, it would be useless without the replication machinery and other mechanisms.
The only way it could be inevitable is if the universe is infinite, and then you could say, 'life had to happen somewhere, and we're it'. But the universe does not seem to be infinite.

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Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by Ann » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:48 am

Guest76 wrote:

The only way it could be inevitable is if the universe is infinite, and then you could say, 'life had to happen somewhere, and we're it'. But the universe does not seem to be infinite.
How do you know that the universe isn't infinite?

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tsap

Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by tsap » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:53 am

Too bad the animation doesn't show input of material for the second strand during replication process. It looks like bad science fiction movie where monsters grow out of nothing.

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Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by eltodesukane » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:38 am

I wonder why the 2nd strand must be copied backward, as is said in the video at 2:40.

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Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by FloridaMike » Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:39 pm

Guest76 wrote:Chris Peterson, your reply to Vincent Pinto is not really an answer to what he said. What studies show that evolutionary processes make this kind of structure essentially inevitable?
How could you have evolution without replicating DNA? If, somehow, you had a DNA molecule appear in a living cell, it would be useless without the replication machinery and other mechanisms.
The only way it could be inevitable is if the universe is infinite, and then you could say, 'life had to happen somewhere, and we're it'. But the universe does not seem to be infinite.
If you would like to understand it better I reccommend picking up a copy of "The Ancestor's Tale" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ancestor%27s_Tale ) from your local library.
Certainty is an emotion. So follow your spindle neurons.

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Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by Ladyhawk » Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:59 pm

Just had a question, not a response so much. Why was there a Scientology ad on this latest
APOD video? I have not noticed any advertisements in the past, and do not consider Scientology as
scientific, so why the ad? Thanks.

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Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by geckzilla » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:03 pm

There shouldn't be... I didn't see it... if other people are seeing a Scientology ad, though, then that has some severe consequences. The editors should refrain from using YouTube videos in the future.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by emc » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:13 pm

Very cool animation… it implies intelligent design behind life’s template. There are many creatures that require several complex systems to be operational at the same time in order to survive. I think this video illustrates that foundational complexity quite well. Interesting and well done! 8-)

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Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by owlice » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:42 pm

It implies basic chemistry to me, not any design, intelligent or otherwise.
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Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by Rothkko » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:50 pm

Version would be appreciated ... subtitles. // Se agradecería una versión... subtitulada.

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Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:57 pm

emc wrote:Very cool animation… it implies intelligent design behind life’s template. There are many creatures that require several complex systems to be operational at the same time in order to survive. I think this video illustrates that foundational complexity quite well. Interesting and well done! 8-)
I know you enjoy exploring astronomy through books. I think you would also enjoy reading about the theories and mechanisms of evolution. Once the basic principles are grasped, it becomes easy to see how all the biology we see around us occurs without design, and indeed, how the evidence argues strongly against design.
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Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:58 pm

geckzilla wrote:There shouldn't be... I didn't see it... if other people are seeing a Scientology ad, though, then that has some severe consequences. The editors should refrain from using YouTube videos in the future.
No ads for me, either.
Chris

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Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by bystander » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:07 pm

geckzilla wrote:There shouldn't be... I didn't see it... if other people are seeing a Scientology ad, though, then that has some severe consequences. The editors should refrain from using YouTube videos in the future.
Chris Peterson wrote:No ads for me, either.
None for me, either, but I have an adblocker installed.
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Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by bystander » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:12 pm

Rothkko wrote:Version would be appreciated ... subtitles. // Se agradecería una versión... subtitulada.
You would need to contact the people who made the video.
Know the quiet place within your heart and touch the rainbow of possibility; be
alive to the gentle breeze of communication, and please stop being such a jerk.
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Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by ems57fcva » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:17 pm

Guest76 wrote:Chris Peterson, your reply to Vincent Pinto is not really an answer to what he said. What studies show that evolutionary processes make this kind of structure essentially inevitable?
How could you have evolution without replicating DNA? If, somehow, you had a DNA molecule appear in a living cell, it would be useless without the replication machinery and other mechanisms.
The only way it could be inevitable is if the universe is infinite, and then you could say, 'life had to happen somewhere, and we're it'. But the universe does not seem to be infinite.
Guest76 - Let me first start with your second question: How can you have evolution without DNA? Look at how DNA is used: It is transcribed into RNA and then the RNA is translated into proteins. Overall, life operates with and through proteins. DNA, RNA, and the accompanying molecular machinery are just a generalized way of building protiens. This tells me that life started as just a self-perpetuating and self-reproducing system of protiens that itself evolved over time deal with variations in its environment. It was very ad-hoc, and would be eaten in moment by modern life, but modern DNA-based life did not exist. RNA must have come next as a currency to help create protiens, and then this mechanism was truly generalized when DNA came along as became a mechanism that could both be reproduced and read to build RNAs.

The inevitability comes from the power of generalization. I am a software engineer, and over and over again I see where creating an abstraction from which you can build something more concrete is a powerful concept. I will not say that DNA Itself must be the genetic substance in alien forms of life, just that once life has had enough time to evolve that something along those lines will exist. As for evidence of DNA being a result of evolution: The bacterial DNA code is 10% different than ours. Why are they so close if they did not share alot of their development? Why are they different at all if they were not a product of evolution?

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Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by florid_snow » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:34 pm

geckzilla wrote:There shouldn't be... I didn't see it... if other people are seeing a Scientology ad, though, then that has some severe consequences. The editors should refrain from using YouTube videos in the future.
I think you see ads that have to do with your search history. My ad was for some geography software program. I don't mind ads if they help with hosting costs, I just make sure I only ever let my browser record professional related searches, so all my ads basically just mimic that.
Last edited by florid_snow on Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by emc » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:39 pm

owlice wrote:It implies basic chemistry to me, not any design, intelligent or otherwise.
While it illustrates what science has uncovered so far (pretty amazing)… life is designated/built from this blueprint/template. And yes we are synchronized chemical compound systems with electricity thrown in. My thinking more easily accepts design than it just happens over time.
Chris Peterson wrote:I think you would also enjoy reading about the theories and mechanisms of evolution. Once the basic principles are grasped, it becomes easy to see how all the biology we see around us occurs without design, and indeed, how the evidence argues strongly against design.
I do understand that everything evolves… the Sun is a good example. It’s not a living creature but it was born, “lives” and dies. Admittedly, I have not deeply studied the theory of evolution and I appreciate your advice to do so. From what I do understand, I agree with natural selection and evolution as a means for life to adapt to its environment. That makes sense. But I do not see how complex life forms could have evolved from a lower state… it seems too many systems have to be in place at the same time (not over long periods) for the creature to exist. That doesn’t make sense.

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Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:39 pm

bystander wrote:
geckzilla wrote:There shouldn't be... I didn't see it... if other people are seeing a Scientology ad, though, then that has some severe consequences. The editors should refrain from using YouTube videos in the future.
Chris Peterson wrote:No ads for me, either.
None for me, either, but I have an adblocker installed.
Yes, but ad blockers won't block an ad actually included in an embedded video, which I assume is what people are seeing.

Question to anybody who got an ad- was it in the embedded video, or did you click through to the YouTube page and see the ad there? Obviously, APOD has no control over content on third-party pages. Many APODs link to pages that have advertising on them.
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Re: APOD: DNA: The Molecule that Defines You (2012 Aug 21)

Post by zorts » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:45 pm

This is, indeed, a cool video clip - but I like it better when APOD sticks to straightahead astronomy.