Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

United States Supreme Court Holds that Life is Based on Information


Earlier this year in the case of Ass’n for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., 133 S. Ct. 2107, 2111 (2013), the court wrote:

Genes form the basis for hereditary traits in living organisms. See generally Association for Molecular Pathology v. United States Patent and Trademark Office, 702 F. Supp. 2d 181, 192-211 (SDNY 2010). The human genome consists of approximately 22,000 genes packed into 23 pairs of chromosomes. Each gene is encoded as DNA, which takes the shape of the familiar “double helix” that Doctors James Watson and Francis Crick first described in 1953. Each “cross-bar” in the DNA helix consists of two chemically joined nucleotides. The possible nucleotides are adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C), and guanine (G), each of which binds naturally with another nucleotide: A pairs with T; C pairs with G. The nucleotide cross-bars are chemically connected to a sugar-phosphate backbone that forms the outside framework of the DNA helix. Sequences of DNA nucleotides contain the information necessary to create strings of amino acids, which in turn are used in the body to build proteins. Only some DNA nucleotides, however, code for amino acids; these nucleotides are known as “exons.” Nucleotides that do not code for amino acids, in contrast, are known as “introns.”

Of course, science is not decided in the courtroom, but it is interesting nevertheless.

Craig Venter's Genetic Typo - 3/14/2011 Excerpt: In order to distinguish their synthetic DNA from that naturally present in the bacterium, Venter’s team coded several famous quotes into their DNA, including one from James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist of a Young Man: “To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life.” After announcing their work, Venter explained, his team received a cease and desist letter from Joyce’s estate, saying that he’d used the Irish writer’s work without permission. ”We thought it fell under fair use,” said Venter. http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidewalt/2011/03/14/craig-venters-genetic-typo/ Harvard cracks DNA storage, crams 700 terabytes of data into a single gram - Sebastian Anthony - August 17, 2012 Excerpt: A bioengineer and geneticist at Harvard’s Wyss Institute have successfully stored 5.5 petabits of data — around 700 terabytes — in a single gram of DNA, smashing the previous DNA data density record by a thousand times.,,, Just think about it for a moment: One gram of DNA can store 700 terabytes of data. That’s 14,000 50-gigabyte Blu-ray discs… in a droplet of DNA that would fit on the tip of your pinky. To store the same kind of data on hard drives — the densest storage medium in use today — you’d need 233 3TB drives, weighing a total of 151 kilos. In Church and Kosuri’s case, they have successfully stored around 700 kilobytes of data in DNA — Church’s latest book, in fact — and proceeded to make 70 billion copies (which they claim, jokingly, makes it the best-selling book of all time!) totaling 44 petabytes of data stored. http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/134672-harvard-cracks-dna-storage-crams-700-terabytes-of-data-into-a-single-gram bornagain77
"Well they are probably going to start using DNA a storage devices, computer programs, and other bio-informatics applications. So a lot more discussion on legality matters will ensue." Lifepsy, the future is not completely far off: http://www.psfk.com/2013/01/encode-dna-information.html origin_surgeon
The fact that DNA is an informational medium cannot be rationally denied. The physical conditions that allow nucleotides to be translated into proteins is exactly the same as any other form of translated information. Upright BiPed
Well they are probably going to start using DNA a storage devices, computer programs, and other bio-informatics applications. So a lot more discussion on legality matters will ensue. And the plus side is going to be watching the comedy of many evolutionists still holding onto that idea that the "information"(gotta put it in quotes!) quality of DNA is somehow ambiguous.. and that DNA is not *really* information, or whatever nonsense they say... While the rest of the rational world around them readily accepts the obvious: that genes clearly are information in every sense of the word. lifepsy
Good decision by the court - a naturally occurring segment of DNA cannot be patented. But now that DNA has been declared to be information, maybe Myriad Genetics should try applying for a copyright! Piltdown2

Leave a Reply