Intelligence Engineering Department

DNA & Future Memory
Investigations into Terran genetic encoding systems of future evolution

DNA - Universal Intelligence Transmitter

From our current understanding, the functional basic unit of all life within universe is comprised of individual cells. The nucleus of each cell contains all the information necessary to create an exact replica of each form of life. This chemically encoded information is stored in a vast yet tiny archive known as DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). DNA is composed of chromosomes and genes that carry the blueprint or codes for every specific life form.

The classic depiction of DNA is the double helix, or two incredibly long intertwining molecules or polymer strands, composed of literally millions of bits of informational units (nucleotides). DNA is an amazingly stable archive that duplicates and transmits it’s blueprint in a transcription process from cell to cell, thereby procreating each life form on a cellular level. This process is identical for all life on earth, as well as (we presume) all life throughout universe.

In an era of CRISPR technologies, our understanding of DNA mechanisms, as they originally evolved in nature... has never been more important.

Humanity's Cellular Archive

DNA is composed of chromosomes and genes that, in addition to being an individual human blueprint, carry ancestral and cultural imprints and codes for every conceivable human trait from our evolutionary past. Although the human embryo developing in the womb may not literally pass through stages of its evolutionary ancestry, human DNA has reproduced itself with incredible accuracy throughout human evolution.

This vast archive of information is passed along through a replicating process that involves the copying and encoding of genetic information from DNA to RNA (Ribonucleic acid). The original DNA that is housed within the nucleus of our cells programs instructions for the production of enzymes and proteins. These DNA instructions are not directly converted into proteins, but are copied into RNA. This ensures that the information contained in the DNA does not become tainted, thus preserving the archive.

RNA polymerase attaches to the DNA at a specific area called the promoter region. The DNA strand opens and allows RNA polymerase to transcribe only a single strand of DNA into a single stranded RNA polymer called messenger RNA. The messenger RNA carries the information to the sites of protein synthesis (ribosome), thereby creating a replica of the original DNA. In this manner the genetic code is passed from cell to cell, mother to child.

In addition to the over 30,000 active, working genes... molecular biologists have identified large sections of the DNA strand that appears to serve no current purpose. The technical term that scientists use to refer to this dormant DNA is “junk”. It is not, however, junk or worthless filler. Given the miraculous complexity of this cellular archive, it seems highly unlikely that these sections of DNA serve no purpose. An intriguing theory for the purpose of the apparently dormant segments of the DNA archive is that these segments are not dormant, but facilitate future capacity and act as tiny transmitters and receivers of cumulative knowledge.

All cells of all living things share this DNA system and communicate on a cellular level in exactly the same way. Individual species differ only in the sequencing of the genetic code within this common system.  In terms of cellular reproduction, this system has worked flawlessly and identically for all living things for as long as life has been on Earth. Assuming that DNA is the blueprint/mechanism for all life in Universe, it is not a great intellectual stretch to consider that the segments of DNA, the function of which is not currently understood by science, may indeed be associated with a cellular information networking system. Is it not possible that this system, working universally in all life, possesses the ability to pass information from one life-form to another... from one species to another? Does it not make sense that this cumulative information would be accessible to ensure a successful future (evolution) for all species within the system (bio-sphere)?

Item: Excerpt from Todd Stewart's  interview of Jeremy Narby
- author of
The Cosmic Serpent - DNA & the Origins of Knowledge

Your hypothesis of a hidden intelligence contained within the DNA of all living things is interesting. What is this intelligence?

Intelligence comes from the Latin inter-legere, to choose between. There seems to be a capacity to make choices operating inside each cell in our body, down to the level of individual proteins and enzymes. DNA itself is a kind of "text" that functions through a coding system called "genetic code," which is strikingly similar to codes used by human beings. Some enzymes edit the RNA transcript of the DNA text and add new letters to it; any error made during this editing can be fatal to the entire organism; so these enzymes are consistently making the right choices; if they don't, something often goes wrong leading to cancer and other diseases. Cells send one another signals, in the form of proteins and molecules. These signals mean: divide, or don't divide, move, or don't move, kill yourself, or stay alive. Any one cell is listening to hundreds of signals at the same time, and has to integrate them and decide what to do. How this intelligence operates is the question.

DNA has essentially maintained its structure for 3.5 billion years. What role does DNA play in our evolution?

DNA is a single molecule with a double helix structure; it is two complementary versions of the same "text" wrapped around each other; this allows it to unwind and make copies of itself: twins! This twinning mechanism is at the heart of life since it began. Without it, one cell could not become two, and life would not exist. And, from one generation to the next, the DNA text can also be modified, so it allows both constancy and transformation. This means that beings can be the same and not the same. One of the mysteries is what drives the changes in the DNA text in evolution. DNA has apparently been around for billions of years in its current form in virtually all forms of life. The old theory—random accumulation of errors combined with natural selection—does not fully explain the data currently generated by genome sequencing. The question is wide open.

Future Memory

DNA contains vast amounts of information pertaining to who we are and, more importantly, who we may become. It may very well be that the blueprint for our future memory as a species is also encoded within this seemingly dormant DNA material. Our future memory premise, simply stated, suggests that contained within the DNA material that rests in a dormant state, waiting to be activated, is the evolutionary instructions for humanity’s future development. Information gleaned not only from our genetic past, but our environment's collective past... Earth's cumulative organic database... is available on a cellular level to us and indeed to all species within the bio-system. The implication is that the universally consistent DNA coding system is capable of passing information throughout it's bio-system. Not merely within the organism, or even the species, but the entire bio-sphere.... planetary intelligence that has been pre-programmed into the system.

The big question is "who or what is doing the programming?" The creation question aside, our future memory theory suggests the answer to be... at least  in part...  that we, in partnership with Earth... are doing the programming. Environmental and individual considerations combine to modify the genetic code in a remarkably successful manner. The intriguing aspect of this theory is: Can the activation of these dormant segments be predicted? How and when do these dormant sections get activated? What is the evolutionary trigger that unlocks these dormant sequences? And lastly, can the dormant information within our DNA be anticipated and consciously manipulated by the individual?

It is possible that some of these questions... the predictive and activation aspects... were addressed long ago by ancient Eastern philosophers...



DNA & the I-Ching

We now understand the mystery and paradox of the great alchemists, philosophers, mystics, sages. They pre-capitulate. They prospectively live out in their own nervous systems the future of evolution, the stages which await in the future of the species. Their nervous systems get into communication (via reverse transcriptase) with DNA. They learn how to decode the genetic blueprint. They experience what is to happen in the future. This, surely, is the royal road to wisdom, the highway of evolution—the two-way traffic between the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the DNA archives, via RNA messenger molecules. 

Consider Lao-Tzu. In the 6th Century B.C., he realizes Einsteinian relativity, senses that all is flow and evolutionary change; anticipates (in the I Ching) what computer designers will understand 2,500 years later… that energy comes in the binary code of yin-yang (off-on); forecasts (in the I Ching trigrams) what micro-geneticists will discover 2,500 years later—the triplicate function of amino-acid binding. Now reflect on the poignant destiny of Lao-Tzu. He knows that he will not be around in biological form when Watson and Crick decipher the DNA code. The time-lag problem is solved by trans-time neuro-genetic signalry. Symbolism. The (tekgnostic) Intelligence Agent called Lao-Tzu teaches the I Ching codes to domesticated primates, injects some fortune-telling hocus-pocus and thus sends down the 2,500-year CNS-RNA-DNA teletype channel this basic code. 

He knows that the Confucians will distort the signal with Boy Scout moralisms (dutifully preserved in the inane Baynes-Wilhelm commentaries), knows that countless charlatans will peddle vulgar I Ching fortunes for a nickel a pop in Oriental bazaars. But he knows, also, that when external technology catches up, 21st Century Intelligence Agents will receive the dot-dash trigram message and realize that binary codes and triplicate trigrams are genetic guide posts explaining the direction and molecular structure of evolution, from the terrestrial, EE, earth, to the extraterrestrial, E, heaven. 

Now consider the Buddha. Also in the 6th Century B.C., he realizes that consciousness creates reality; that all is maya, i.e. an internal dance of neurons, an external dance of protons. He advises detachment from tribal imprints (local reality-tunnels), announces the octave nature of evolution (again knowing it will be corrupted by moralists into the 8-fold path of domesticated virtue and marketed eventually as the 8 x 8 chessboard). He knows that Mendeleyev and the octave division of quarks await 100 generations in the future.

We are awed by this unbroken chain of generational signalry. In each of the 100 generations since Buddha, a few Intelligence Agents are born and spend their brief lives, detached from the hive, poring over the octaves. In response, we assume, to some RNA suggestion about the sequence of the eight periods of evolution—from heavy to light, from slow to fast, from water to fire, from terrestrial to post-terrestrial, from Kun EE to Chien E, from earth metals to noble gases.

- Dr. Timothy Leary


DNA, I-Ching and the Octave Structure

Our genetic information is encoded in the sequence of nucleotides arranged into codons consisting of three bases each. DNA has sixty-four letters or codons (nine overlapping 8 note octaves) in its spiral structure. There are also 22 letters in the genetic amino acid/protein creation process (three overlapping 8 note octaves) with one RNA codon for each of the primary 20 amino acids plus the start and stop RNA codons. Further, each of the sixty-four DNA codons contains four bases with only three active at any one time.

The I Ching, like DNA, has four two-line bases of which only three are active. The I Ching is based upon the polar aspects of Yin and Yang, DNA is based upon the plus and minus threads of the double helix. The two three-line hexagrams of the I Ching have the same tri-part structure as the DNA codons. Further, beneath the electron microscope the I Ching symbol looks like the head of the DNA snake, as if it had been visualized thousands of years ago during profound meditation. It is easy now to perceive that the structures of DNA and the I Ching have a similar purpose. DNA is used to construct a biological organism, the living expression of the quantum information fields. The I Ching is used to create an awakened being grounded in the dimensions of consciousness.

Together they suggest that there is one shared cosmic-mind behind the sixty-four codons of DNA and the sixty-four hexagrams of the I Ching. The quantum information field surrounding DNA, the templates of the I Ching and the profound awareness of the Tao are all names for the same underlying stratum of consciousness which carries our manifest universe, just as an ocean carries a wave upon its surface.

Fu Xi became the first Emperor of China, circa 2800 BC.  One day he spotted a dragon-horse rising out of the Yellow River.  On its side were some markings which Fu Xi recorded.  He called them the Ho Tu, from which he derived eight trigrams which represented the four cardinal directions and the diagonals between. These eight trigrams are the basis of the I-Ching, the oldest scripture in Chinese culture.

It has been argued that there seems to exist a striking correlation between the 64 kua of the ancient Asian divination system known as the I-Ching and the nucleotide sequence and amino acid bases in the RNA/DNA molecule. Upon closer examination of the parallel between DNA and the I Ching, we find immediate similarities. The 64 kua of the I Ching are constructed by using four emblematic symbols: Old Yang, Young Yang, Old Yin, and Young Yin. DNA is comprised of four essential nucleic acids: Adenine, Guanine, Cystosine, and Uracil. These nucleic acids are combined into sets of three, known as codons. This means that there are 4 x 4 x 4 = 64 combinations available. The I Ching also has 64 combinations.

When comparing these two systems, they can be logically grouped into the following order: Adenine is the main component of adenosine triphosphate, the chemical which generates the energy for cellular metabolism, and the purines have a common atomic structure based on 9 atoms. Old Yang is assigned to Adenine because Old Yang's "ritual number" is 9 and yang represents energy in the I Ching (yin represents matter). The other 3 emblem/ nucleotide assignments follow logically because of similar correspondences in their natures. Using this particular table, you can assign any hexagram of the I Ching to its own unique DNA codon by substituting 9 for Adenine (A), 6 for Uracil (U), 7 for Guanine (G), and 8 for Cystosine (C).

Several modern books like the “Tao of Chaos” have demonstrated extraordinary similarities that link the I-Ching to modern knowledge of DNA structures

Sub-Atomic similarities

As previously stated, the I Ching is based upon the polar aspects of Yin and Yang, DNA is based upon the plus and minus threads of the double helix. The two three-line hexagrams of the I Ching have the same tri-part structure as the DNA codons. Further, in the sub-particle realms of chromadyamics, there is a quark model called the Gell-Martin theory. It uses quarks with masses that appear to be built of +/- 1/3 or +/-2/3 of an electron charge. This is remarkably similar to the triplet hexagrams and the 12 part system of the I Ching, including the hexagrams of chance. These Gell-Martin quarks produce bewildering properties such as time running backwards and the simultaneous existence of contradictory states, qualities mirrored in the template structure of the I Ching. The subtleties of the I Ching then can be as complex and profound as the modern Gell-Mann theory of chromadynamics.

The I Ching then has been created as a mirror of hexagrams which can be held up to the purity of the Tao, so that they can reflect the hidden realms of consciousness without the medium of the intervening cave wall. The I Ching also is a sacred tablet of remembrance, a mandala of images to nurture insight, so that we can eventually gain the psychic power to turn the focus of our attention towards the creating light and the unseen quantum information fields that surround. The I Ching of China describes the universe in a similar way to modern western science with its study of DNA, the atomic structure and the quantum light fields. We can but marvel at the extraordinary minds which put these three ancient creation models together.

Modern physics suggests that time does not exist or is an illusion on a fundamental level. Put more precisely, an object in 3D over time is the same object, while in 4D, the perceived object is a different entity at different points along the time-line. Time can only be experienced from the perspective of a perceiver. It follows then that DNA would possess past, present & future aspects of our object in question as the mechanism of the differentiation. DNA is the means whereby an organism (perceiver) changes (evolves) over time, while maintaining organic continuity. The ancient I-Ching appears to be a sophisticated model of the tendencies of evolution, as generated by DNA. Given the apparent ability for time running backward on the sub-atomic level, the possibility of accessing or "triggering" DNA information at a "perceived" future point along the timeline may not be out of the question.

- based in part on the works of Steve Krakowski,  Robert Bast & Martin Schonberger.



I think that DNA is an intelligent entity, more intelligent than any of us - it designed all of us. And I think that DNA has a definite project in mind - that is to say, immortality. I think that what it's been working on all along is to produce immortal organisms which are capable of traveling off the planet - transcending the mammalian condition, the struggle for existence, and so on. And actually, to be blunt about it, become God-like beings.

      - Robert Anton Wilson

Is the DNA code a constant in Universe?

A recent mathematical analysis says that life as we know it is written into the laws of reality.  DNA is built from a set of twenty amino acids - the first ten of those can create simple prebiotic life, and now it seems that those ten are thermodynamically destined to occur wherever they can.

For those unfamiliar with thermodynamics, it's the Big Brother of all energy equations and science itself.  You can apply quantum mechanics at certain scales, and Newtonian mechanics work at the right speeds, but if Thermodynamics says something then everyone listens.  An energy analysis by Professors Pudritz and Higgs of McMaster University shows that the first ten amino acids are likely to form at relatively low temperatures and pressures, and the calculated odds of formation match the concentrations of these life-chemicals found in meteorite samples. They also match those in simulations of early Earth, and most critically, those simulations were performed by other people.  The implications are staggering: good news for anyone worried about how we're alone, and bad news for anyone who demands some kind of "Designer" to put life together - it seems that physics can assemble the organic jigsaw all by itself, thank you very much, and has probably done so throughout space since the beginning of everything.

The study indicates that you don't need a miracle to arrive at the chemical cocktail for early life, just a decently large asteroid with the right components.  That's all.  The entire universe could be stuffed with life, from the earliest prebiotic protein-a-likes to fully DNAed descendants.  The path from one to the other is long, but we've had thirteen and a half billion years so far and it's happened at least once. The other ten amino acids aren't as easy to form, but they'll still turn up - and the process of "stepwise evolution" means that once the simpler systems work, they can grab the rarer "epic drops" of more sophisticated chemicals as they occur - kind of a World of Lifecraft except you literally get a life when you play.  And once even the most sophisticated structure is part of a replicating organism, there's plenty to go round.

It's no accident that we see stars in the sky, says famed Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins: they are a vital part of any universe capable of generating us. But, as Dawkins emphasizes, that does not mean that stars exists in order to make us. "It is just that without stars there would be no atoms heavier than lithium in the periodic table," Dawkins writes in The Ancestors Tale -A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution, "and a chemistry of only three elements is too impoverished to support life. Seeing is the kind of activity that can go on only in the kind of universe where what you see is stars." A fascinating corollary according to both Dawkins and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, is whether DNA is inevitable as the foundation for the coding of life, or has life started with DNA in only one place in the solar system and then spread among the livable habitats through panspermia. Microbial life can land on and seed another planet, thereby not requiring that you have to create life from scratch multiple times and in multiple places.

Another totally intriguing possibility, one of many that deGrasse Tyson Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History describes in Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution, is that there is life that has encoding that has nothing to do with DNA. It is the relentless shifting and mutating of DNA, says Dennis Overbye in a brilliant essay in The New York Times, that generates the raw material for evolution to act on and ensures the success of life on Earth (and perhaps beyond). Dr. Paul Davies, co-director of the Arizona State University Cosmology Initiative said that he had been encouraged by the discovery a few years ago "that some sections of junk DNA seem to be markedly resistant to change, and have remained identical in humans, rats, mice, chickens and dogs for at least 300 million years."

But Dr. Gill Bejerano, Assistant Professor of Developmental Biology and of Computer Science at Stanford, one of the discoverers of these “ultraconserved” strings of the genome, said that many of them had turned out to be playing important command and control functions. “Why they need to be so conserved remains a mystery,” Berjerano said, noting that even regular genes with known functions undergo more change over time. Most junk bits of DNA that neither help nor annoy an organism mutate even more rapidly, Overbye points out.

Encrypting Messages In Our "How-to-Make-a-Human" DNA Instruction Manual

DNA isn't just a code, it's the ultimate information - the data without which the ability to perceive data wouldn't exist.  We now have the ability to write our own messages into this biological blueprint, but there are important factors to consider before you start scribbling cellular graffiti. The human genome contains about three quarters of a gigabyte of data, and it's pretty unflattering to find out that the "How to make YOU" instruction manual is less than a quarter of the size of the "Avatar" DVD.  (But don't worry - the real "you" in your head is, even by the simplest estimate, at least seventy terabytes).  Scientists have so far inserted the equation of relativity, their own names and even Latin poetry into the "junk" DNA of bacteria and plants.

Which leads us to an extremely dangerous concept: the idea of "junk" DNA. This is an extremely popular misconception which leaps from "we don't know what it does" to "it doesn't do anything."  Research teams are continually discovering regions of "junk" which turned out to do something vital after all, almost as if it was unlikely we'd be saddled with 97% of our genomes doing nothing.  We can confirm that regions of it don't seem to code for proteins or instructions, but until someone builds an organism without all the extra code we'll have to assume it's doing something.  Or even better, try using the "extra" storage space for something else and let us know what happens.

The idea of encoding information in DNA is so spectacularly sci-fi that people can't help but come up with crazy applications - which is awesome. That's exactly what science should do!  People want to record evolutionary archives of our innovations, coding cockroaches to carry our knowledge past any future catastrophes, while others only want to trademark their genetic innovations (an unsettling and unfortunately far more likely outcome), but the fact remains that DNA is still a terrible place to put information - if only because any species which could extract it knows at least as much as we do anyway.

Some say we should search our own selves for messages from extra-terrestrials, encoded messages from the alien creators of the human race.  But the facts are:

1)  Beware any idea that was actually used as a Star Trek plot once.

2)  The "aliens made us" theory is better suited to late-night radio talk shows.

3)  It could still be true, but if it is we'll find any such messages in the course of regular, real research into the code instead of hunting for a message.

In fact, it's essential we don't start searching for scrawls inside our cells, because with seven hundred and fifty megabytes of data there'll be such a fantastic Nostradamus factor (finding messages in random garbage once you've already decided to) that anything identified will be an artifact of the observer.

A real application of genetic information is the idea of genetic computation - the idea of encoding a problem in DNA and evolving a solution. Obviously there's an immense amount of work in setting up such a computation (not only encoding the information, but designing a situation in which solving the problem is beneficial to the organism), but that's okay because it's only intended for use in otherwise "insoluble" problems - quandaries where the analytic methods fail and the computation time is longer than the expected endurance of the sun. 

Evolution, after all, came up with things butterflies, pilot fish and duck-billed platypii - if anyone can come up with unexpected answers, it's nature. The great unkown is: will DNA and the ability to encrypt communication prove to be a constant throughout the Universe?

- Luke McKinney

The Unsolved Mystery of DNA's Telepathic Communication

DNA has been found to have a bizarre ability to put itself together, even at a distance, when according to known science it shouldn't be able to. The explanation: None, at least not yet.

Scientists report evidence that contrary to our current beliefs about what is possible, intact double-stranded DNA has the “amazing” ability to recognize similarities in other DNA strands from a distance. Somehow they are able to identify one another, and the tiny bits of genetic material tend to congregate with similar DNA. The recognition of similar sequences in DNA’s chemical subunits, occurs in a way unrecognized by science. There is no known reason why the DNA is able to combine the way it does, and from a current theoretical standpoint this feat should be chemically impossible.

Even so, research published in ACS’ Journal of Physical Chemistry B, shows very clearly that homology recognition between sequences of several hundred nucleotides occurs without physical contact or presence of proteins. Double helixes of DNA can recognize matching molecules from a distance and then gather together, all seemingly without help from any other molecules or chemical signals.

In the study, scientists observed the behavior of fluorescently tagged DNA strands placed in water that contained no proteins or other material that could interfere with the experiment. Strands with identical nucleotide sequences were about twice as likely to gather together as DNA strands with different sequences. No one knows how individual DNA strands could possibly be communicating in this way, yet somehow they do. The “telepathic” effect is a source of wonder and amazement for scientists.

“Amazingly, the forces responsible for the sequence recognition can reach across more than one nanometer of water separating the surfaces of the nearest neighbor DNA,” said the authors Geoff S. Baldwin, Sergey Leikin, John M. Seddon, and Alexei A. Kornyshev and colleagues.

This recognition effect may help increase the accuracy and efficiency of the homologous recombination of genes, which is a process responsible for DNA repair, evolution, and genetic diversity. The new findings may also shed light on ways to avoid recombination errors, which are factors in cancer, aging, and other health issues.

Source: ACS’ Journal of Physical Chemistry B

- from the Daily Galaxy

CRISPR Gene Editing

CRISPR gene editing is a genetic engineering technique in molecular biology by which the genomes of living organisms may be modified. It is based on a simplified version of the bacterial CRISPR-Cas9 antiviral defense system. By delivering the Cas9 nuclease complexed with a synthetic guide RNA (gRNA) into a cell, the cell's genome can be cut at a desired location, allowing existing genes to be removed and/or new ones added in vivo (in living organisms).

The technique is considered highly significant in biotechnology and medicine as it allows for the genomes to be edited in vivo with extremely high precision, cheaply and with ease. It can be used in the creation of new medicines, agricultural products, and genetically modified organisms, or as a means of controlling pathogens and pests. It also has possibilities in the treatment of inherited genetic diseases as well as diseases arising from somatic mutations such as cancer. However, its use in human germline genetic modification is highly controversial, for obvious reasons.

Policy regulations for the CRISPR-Cas9 system vary around the globe. In February 2016, British scientists were given permission by regulators to genetically modify human embryos by using CRISPR-Cas9 and related techniques. However, researchers were forbidden from implanting the embryos and the embryos were to be destroyed after seven days.

The US has an elaborate, interdepartmental regulatory system to evaluate new genetically modified foods and crops. For example, the Agriculture Risk Protection Act of 2000 gives the United States Department of Agriculture the authority to oversee the detection, control, eradication, suppression, prevention, or retardation of the spread of plant pests or noxious weeds to protect the agriculture, environment, and economy of the US. The act regulates any genetically modified organism that utilizes the genome of a predefined "plant pest" or any plant not previously categorized.


Manipulating the Dormant Information within our DNA

Lausanne, Switzerland
Viral "squatters" comprise nearly half of our genetic code. Millions of years ago, genomic invaders inserted their DNA into our own when they infected our ancestors. But how we keep them quiet and prevent them from attack was a mystery. The reason we survive the presence of these endogenous retroviruses (ERVs)... viruses that attack and are passed on through germ cells, the cells that give rise to eggs and sperm... is because something keeps the killers silent. ERVs are transcriptionally silenced during early embryogenesis by histone and DNA methylation, but the initiators of this process are largely unknown.

The actions of related genes can be coordinated by a master regulatory protein that recognizes a group of similar but not identical DNA sequences, while ignoring more distantly related sequences. The work yields insights into evolution and gene expression/silencing, as well as potential new therapies for treating other retrovirus-based maladies (e.g., HIV). The researchers also demonstrated that a master regulatory protein called KAP1 appears to orchestrate these inhibitory proteins in silencing would-be viruses. When KAP1 is removed, for example, the viral DNA "wakes up," multiplies and induces innumerable mutations. 

Because retroviruses tend to mutate their host's DNA, they have an immense power and potential to alter genes. Some distant ancestors silenced the retrovirus during ancient pandemics, then passed on their ability. Great waves of endogenous retrovirus coincide with the times evolution seemed to leap ahead. "In our genome we find traces of the last two major waves. The first took place 100 million years ago, at the time when mammals started to develop, and the second about fifty million years ago, just before the first anthropoid primates," he says. 

Discovery of the KAP1 mechanism could stimulate the search for new therapeutic approaches for AIDS.




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