Biology

DNA Energy Code: “Survival of the Fittest” Phenomenon Is Only Part of the Evolution Equation

Three Conformations DNA Double Helix

Three conformations of the DNA double helix: A (left), B (center) and left-handed Z (right). Credit: David S. Goodsell and RCSB PDB

Genetic code evolution and Darwin’s evolution theory should consider DNA an “energy code.”

Darwin’s theory of evolution should be expanded to include consideration of a DNA stability “energy code” – so-called “molecular Darwinism” – to further account for the long-term survival of species’ characteristics on Earth, according to Rutgers scientists.

The iconic genetic code can be viewed as an “energy code” that evolved by following the laws of thermodynamics (flow of energy), causing its evolution to culminate in a nearly singular code for all living species, according to the Rutgers co-authored study in the journal Quarterly Reviews of Biophysics.

“These revelations matter because they provide entirely new ways of analyzing the human genome and the genome of any living species, the blueprints of life,” said senior author Kenneth J. Breslauer, Linus C. Pauling Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. He is also affiliated with the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. “The origins of the evolution of the DNA genetic code and the evolution of all living species are embedded in the different energy profiles of their molecular DNA blueprints. Under the influence of the laws of thermodynamics, this energy code evolved, out of an astronomical number of alternative possibilities, into a nearly singular code across all living species.”

Scientists investigated this so-called “universal enigma,” probing the origins of the astounding observation that the genetic code evolved into a nearly uniform blueprint that arose from trillions of possibilities.

The scientists expanded the underpinnings of the landmark “survival of the fittest” Darwinian evolutionary theory to include “molecular Darwinism.” Darwin’s revolutionary theory is based on the generational persistence of a species’ physical features that allow it to survive in a given environment through “natural selection.” Molecular Darwinism refers to physical characteristics that persist through generations because the regions of the molecular DNA that code for those traits are unusually stable.

Different DNA regions can exhibit differential energy signatures that may favor physical structures in organisms that enable specific biological functions, Breslauer said.

Next steps include recasting and mapping the human genome chemical sequence into an “energy genome,” so DNA regions with different energy stabilities can be correlated with physical structures and biological functions. That would enable better selection of DNA targets for molecular-based therapeutics.

Reference: “Energy mapping of the genetic code and genomic domains: implications for code evolution and molecular Darwinism” by Horst H. Klump, Jens Völker and Kenneth J. Breslauer, 4 November 2020, Quarterly Reviews of Biophysics.
DOI: 10.1017/S0033583520000098

Jens Völker, an associate research professor in Rutgers–New Brunswick’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, co-authored the study, along with first author Horst H. Klump at the University of Cape Town.

Funding: U.S. National Institutes of Health, NRF (Pretoria, RSA).

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  • None of this evolved. All of biology did not spring forth by chance… This is a fairytale for mentally-deficient. adults

  • Evolution is the most studied and verified theory in all of science and accepted as fact by 8 different fields of science, each with their own sets of evidence.
    1. Comparative Anatomy
    2. Embryology & Development
    3. Paleontology (Fossil Record)
    4. DNA Comparisons
    5. Species Distribution
    6. Micro Evolution Observations
    7. Predictive Evolution
    8. Nested Hierarchies of Traits

    Religion on the other hand has zero evidence to present, other than various ancient books that cannot verify their folklore claims.

  • Fascinating. Will look forward to reading the full article if available to non-academics.

    Energy flow is constrained and determined by pathways of entropy production. Thermodynamics: the flow of energy (thru entropy production). Like the climate, where entropy (heat) is the result of energy combustion. I often find inverting or reversing the flow parameters here to tease out the constraints more insightful. This is a universal property of energy flow.

    So, life is not a "one in a trillion" potential based on scrambling a deck of molecular cards. It's more like a one on one possibility, infinitely probable, when energy in any complex, either atomic, molecular or embodied in more elaborate lifeforms, finds a real, sustainable pathway (flow channel) for the dissipation of its potential given its (here molecular) constraints.

    This ties the world together from the molecular and climatic to the social level. They're all forms and variations on a universal theme of "dissipative structures," either simple ones like dust devils, or more complex ones like financial systems. Once established they're persistent and tend to dominate their environment.

    Here's the take home. If we as a culture and the world as a civilization, payed as much attention to entropy production as we do to energy discovery and its flow, we'd be on a much safer planet. BTW I had an exchange once with James Hansen once. He heartily agreed.

    So, the means of our physical creation, DNA, is also fragile and subject to decay (entropy) based on many things like radiation or constraints in the flow of its energy. In fact, in cellular processes, one theory of cancer is that it comes from damaged, dysfunctional mitochondria (ATP or energy producers) first, not damaged DNA, which is a secondary result.

    Keep up the interesting work and let your imagination soar, even though it can and will get stuck in the detritus (constrained view) of the dominant paradigm.

  • "Arose from trillions of possibilities "....yet only has one lifetime of 80 years to get it right? Enigma of stupidity.

  • No no no, don't you get it? This Discovery makes complete sense to me and ties in perfectly to a theory of my own. This is the missing link to my theory, and it is huge. One thing I've noticed is that the physical structure of certain animal groups have not changed, but the flesh that surrounds these structures has. For example an ichthyosaurus looks just like a dolphin, a Triceratops looks just like a rhinoceros, or some kind of horned cattle, a mosasaur looks just is like a killer whale, a liopleurodon is like a whale. Pterosaur it's just like a bird, a brontosaurus is just like an elephant and just like a giraffe. All of the apex predators, small to large fit a certain niche in life, both then and now. The list goes on and on, but the difference is that 65-400 million years ago reptile flesh covered these structures and now mammal flesh covers these structures. It's the molecular structuring of the DNA that shaped the similar infrastructures of each of these creatures over the span of millions of years. Each group's purpose then is the same as it is now, and the only difference is what once was reptile is now mammal.

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