Intelligent Design

Beyond The Genome: A Non-Reductionist Perspective On Development

Spread the love

One common theme which often permeates discussions pertaining to embryology and developmental biology — particularly (but not limited to) within ID circles — is the idea that an organism’s DNA sequence may not wholly be responsible for the development of the three-dimensional structure and architecture found within cells, organs and body plans. Read More>>>

4 Replies to “Beyond The Genome: A Non-Reductionist Perspective On Development

  1. 1
    DrREC says:

    I’m quite puzzled by the warm inclusion of Zhang et al.’s paper in a post containing the phrases “Beyond the Genome” and “non-reductionist!”

    I find this puzzling because their approach was both genetic and reductionist. They sought to understand the mechanosensing function of the hemidesmosome* by reducing it to its parts using molecular genetics and modern imaging methods.

    As this paper and others show, these and other mechanosensors aren’t ‘beyond the genome,’ they are encoded by it!

    *Minor correction: You have the hemidesmosome and mechanosensor listed as separate complexes, where they are one in the same–

    You: “in addition to the anchor point for epithelial cells known as the “hemidesmosome,” there is a specialized device called a “mechanosensor”

    Abstract: “Our findings suggest that the C. elegans hemidesmosome is not only an attachment structure, but also a mechanosensor that responds to tension by triggering signalling processes.”

  2. 2
    Jonathan M says:

    DrREC –

    *Minor correction: You have the hemidesmosome and mechanosensor listed as separate complexes, where they are one in the same

    Yes, you are right. I made the correction.

    I’m quite puzzled by the warm inclusion of Zhang et al.’s paper in a post containing the phrases “Beyond the Genome” and “non-reductionist!”

    I am using the term reductionism here in terms of DNA reductionism. The DNA sequence is not the sole determinant of embryonic development. A whole series of other factors are necessary — many of which are not reducible to the DNA level.

  3. 3
    DrREC says:

    I don’t know what “DNA reductionism” means that wouldn’t encompass molecular genetics, imaging, and mutations.

    So, what factors in the Zhang paper were not reduced to the DNA level?

    We have the genetically encoded proteins of the hemidesmosome acting as sensors of tension (normally brought about through muscle-again genetically encoded proteins):

    “This pathway involves, in addition to a Rac GTPase, three signalling proteins found at the hemidesmosome. …. Tension exerted by adjacent muscles or externally exerted mechanical pressure maintains GIT-1 at hemidesmosomes and stimulates PAK-1 activity through PIX-1 and Rac. This pathway promotes the maturation of a hemidesmosome into a junction that can resist mechanical stress and contributes to coordinating the morphogenesis of epidermal and muscle tissues.”

  4. 4
    Elizabeth Liddle says:

    Jonathan M:

    I am using the term reductionism here in terms of DNA reductionism. The DNA sequence is not the sole determinant of embryonic development. A whole series of other factors are necessary — many of which are not reducible to the DNA level.

    Yes indeed. I think most biologists would agree. I’ve recommended it before, but I’ll do so again: Denis Noble’s The Music of Life.

    http://www.musicoflife.co.uk/reviews.html

Leave a Reply