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No. 117: May-June 1998

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The Unread Biotic Message

We have been selling ReMine's book The Biotic Message in which he asserts that life itself is a message of transcendental nature. Every bacterium and human is a cosmic statement. Shifting from the macroscopic to the microscopic (phenotype to genotype), we recall that all macroscopic "statements" are really expressions of DNA -- the genetic code. But when we examine DNA, we find that only about 3% of the DNA in human cells codes for protein manufacture. The remaining 97% is termed "nonsense" or "junk" DNA. But there may actually be sense in nonsense DNA.

Statistical analysis of nonsense-DNA "words" (3-8 bases long) reveals considerable redundancy. Long stretches of nonsense DNA are definitely not random. In fact, the structure of nonsense DNA resembles that of language. The coding or "sense" DNA, on the other hand, lacks this language structure. The implication is that coding and nonsense DNAs carry different kinds of messages. The former consists simply of blueprints; the latter is couched in a language that we have not yet learned to read.

(Flan, Faye; "Hints of a Language in Junk DNA," Science, 266:1320, 1994.)

Comment. On the microscopic level, we can read only 3% of the biotic message!

From Science Frontiers #117, MAY-JUN 1998. � 1998-2000 William R. Corliss