The New York Times is reporting here on a discovery published in NatureÃ‚Â of of a second code hidden in DNA. Ã‚Â According to the author,
“In the genetic code, sets of three DNA units specify various kinds of amino acid, the units of proteins.Ã‚Â A curious feature of the code is that it is redundant, meaning that a given amino acid can be defined by any of several different triplets.Ã‚Â Biologists have long speculated that the redundancy may have been designed so as to coexist with some other kind of code, and this, Dr. Segal said, could be the nuclesome code.”
Oops, he used the “D” word.Ã‚Â But let’s look beyond thatÃ‚Â for the moment and think about what it would take -Ã‚Â in terms of random processes – for DNA to form itself andÃ‚Â code itself by random mutationsÃ‚Â toÃ‚Â produce proteins that transcribe specific overlapping segmentsÃ‚Â thatÃ‚Â are themselvesÃ‚Â hidden or revealed depending on how still other proteins fold the long DNA strand.Ã‚Â Codes within codes, weaved together inÃ‚Â a lattice ofÃ‚Â folded DNAÃ‚Â thatÃ‚Â operate like machines programmed to reconfigure themselvesÃ‚Â depending on context.Ã‚Â Want a liver cell -Ã‚Â fold here.Ã‚Â Muscle, fold there.Ã‚Â Like comic book Transformers, but infinitely more complex.Ã‚Â Cell types set contextual limits that are determined by a mutating but self-correcting proceedure of replication and type determination.Ã‚Â Start with a single sperm cell and egg cell and watch them unite – only to then split into the myriad cell types making up complex organisms in exactly the right time and place to enable the growth of an entire being.Ã‚Â The determination of each cell type is controlled by this hidden code whose interpretation is dependent upon how the DNA strand is folded.Ã‚Â And what deterimines the folding of the DNA?Ã‚Â Why, the other code, of course.
I can see whyÃ‚Â theÃ‚Â author, one Nicholas Wade, was probably thinking “evolved” but wrote “been designed”.Ã‚Â Or is it too much to hope that NYT would actually publish an ID-sympathetic statement?