Further to: When Darwin’s followers debate, it generally sounds like “Was this one of Darwin’s statements more wonderful than that one?”, ending with “There is really no way to tell!”:
We’ve been talking about the limitations in what DNA actually does. When we consider that Darwinism was rescued from oblivion at the turn of the twentieth century by the triumph of the gene (later, DNA, the selfish gene, etc.), its easy to see how its growing irrelevance promotes cult-like behaviour.
Phillip Cunningham draws our attention to one of the newly recently elucidated features of embryo shape, the bioelectric code:
Abstract: Patterns of resting potential in non-excitable cells of living tissue are now known to be instructive signals for pattern formation during embryogenesis, regeneration and cancer suppression. The development of molecular-level techniques for tracking ion flows and functionally manipulating the activity of ion channels and pumps has begun to reveal the mechanisms by which voltage gradients regulate cell behaviors and the assembly of complex large-scale structures. A recent paper demonstrated that a specific voltage range is necessary for demarcation of eye fields in the frog embryo. Remarkably, artificially setting other somatic cells to the eye-specific voltage range resulted in formation of eyes in aberrant locations, including tissues that are not in the normal anterior ectoderm lineage: eyes could be formed in the gut, on the tail, or in the lateral plate mesoderm. These data challenge the existing models of eye fate restriction and tissue competence maps, and suggest the presence of a bioelectric code—a mapping of physiological properties to anatomical outcomes. This Addendum summarizes the current state of knowledge in developmental bioelectricity, proposes three possible interpretations of the bioelectric code that functionally maps physiological states to anatomical outcomes, and highlights the biggest open questions in this field. We also suggest a speculative hypothesis at the intersection of cognitive science and developmental biology: that bioelectrical signaling among non-excitable cells coupled by gap junctions simulates neural network-like dynamics, and underlies the information processing functions required by complex pattern formation in vivo. Understanding and learning to control the information stored in physiological networks will have transformative implications for developmental biology, regenerative medicine and synthetic bioengineering. Article is free.
Cunningham points us to a vid as well:
So, who predicted this? And what exactly, does the selfish gene do that it supposedly runs everything?
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