Thursday, 13 May 2010

Blueprint to write living organisms:

the Uncover Story

Reproduction of living organisms doesn't bother with authorship and copyright. On the contrary, Nature encourages on a massive scale copying: because it's impossible to do it perfectly, every variation is a chance to improve: if you don't copy you're dead (and of course Nature is quite benevolent with peer to peer exchange...). Clearly reproduction is recursive: the urge to copy again is included in the copy reproduced: if you copy, your copy will do it again.

Most of all, reproduction is not the transcript of a holy book. The message is full of trash, red harrings, jokes, curses, traps. Therefore the text always has been interpreted:that means to be ecologically situated. The hint of the genetic code must be evoked by the environment in order to blossom as an organism. In a study of 1972, the biologist Elsdale observed the behaviour of fibroblast, a type of connective cells. Their function is to be structured in a tridimentional framework, but in the study, their DNA could provide instructions only to build a bidimensional one. When there is a critical density, they start to twist the original bidimensional framework; it turns out that randomly they build the functional structure: the information wasn't in the code, but in the situation.
Another one: nowhere in a crocodile DNA you will find information about sex; besides prudery, crocodiles encode in environment temperature the information to assign a sex: situation.

More about this in the bible of Developmental systems theory: Oyama (2000), The Ontogeny of Information.

The big one: soft assembly.In 1994 Thelen and Smith studied the development of children locomotion system, from the perspective of dynamic systems theory. Strangely a child starts the sequence to walk, but after weeks it ceases, only to reappear later. They demonstrated that weight was critical to inhibit the movement (children at the stage of no visible sensori-motor sequence, in water “reacquire” the movement). Thelen and Smith went further and proved that in the genetic code it would have been too expensive to encode movement and its inhibition related to weight. The sensori-motor sequence is smply partially encoded: when it starts, it adapts on the situation. To put it clearly: the situation completes the sensori-motor sequence.

Genetic reproduction is a form of writing and we know that authorship is always headless. The process of reproducing living organism is a collective effort, where nobody is in charge. DNA plays its role, but living organisms are ecologically situated: you can't separate a living being from the environment hosting it: they are intrinsically coupled. The blue-print of life is distributed all over the world: you will find pieces of future living being everywhere. A giant story continuously involved in the process of writing itself through the deployment of recursive narration. That's it, life is a recursive narration in which it has been told the story of telling a story. You had maybe not noticed, but rising temperature is dramatically swinging to crocodile gender. Still unimpressed? I'd like to call you a stone, but actually a stone stores much future living beings that your lead heart. Fortunately you're hosting millions of micro-organism in your body, so even if you're a tosser, you still contribute to the writing of the universe. See you under different protein forms.

No comments:

Post a Comment