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2013 paper: Bioelectric code helps govern embryo shape

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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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4 Replies to “2013 paper: Bioelectric code helps govern embryo shape

  1. 1
    Dr JDD says:

    This sort of thing is fascinating – every day in science something more complex is learned that makes me in awe of the incredible order and design in the cell.

    Unfortunately, while I agree that this is a very hard problem for evolution to explain, I suspect most Darwinists will point to the fact that tight junctions/GAP junctions/desmosomal proteins/adherins etc and ion channels/pumps are the cell’s methods to produce ionic gradients (hence bioelectricity) and thus this is determined by genetic code.

    However, they will miss the point that while these proteins are responsible for the bioelectric gradients, they do not explain the interpretation (and existance) of the bioelectric code for functional cell changes…

    Having worked on (and published papers on) junctional proteins though, I can attest to the incredible complexity of the network of proteins involved in their correct regulation and formation make you truly wonder how on earth these things could arise naturally.

    JD

  2. 2
    News says:

    They could arise naturally if nature includes t hings that materialists have sought to banish. The critical question is, what is in nature. By the way, a reader writes to note:

    “News” said: “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.”

    Actually, when Mendel’s work with genetics was re-discovered in 1900, it quickly became conventional wisdom that genetics had put paid to the already-faltering Darwinism of the time. It took the DarwinWorshippers until the 1930s to come up with neo-Darwinism as an answer to genetics.

    Note taken. Thanks. Also, reader (Ilion Troas) writes back to add,

    … and then, in standard DarwinDefender fashion, they behave as though that whole 30+ year period hadn’t even existed, as though genetics were a natural fit with Darwinism rather than a serious challenge to it. Shoot, some even try to insinuate that St Chuckie anticipated genertics (*) and certainly that that branch of biology couldn’t exist without Darwinism.

    (*) There is some evidence, though inconclusive, that Dawin was somewhat aware of Mendel’s work … and that he dismissed it (as it didn’t appear to support the metaphysics he was pushing).

  3. 3
    awstar says:

    Published paper says:

    We hypothesize that the rich and deep techniques of computational neuroscience can be applied to understand and manipulate the functions of dynamically remodeling tissues. If true, such unification would result in truly transformative advances in synthetic morphology, bioengineering, hybrid cybernetic bio-robotics and regenerative medicine.

    They are on the wrong track. They pay no tribute to Darwin whatsoever. NO FUNDING FOR YOU!

  4. 4
    Dionisio says:

    Dr JDD @ 1

    I enjoyed reading your challenging but also refreshing opening comment. Thank you.

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