Biological information

colewd made a comment I found interesting:

We should also admit the major evolutionary transitions are poorly understood because they require significant new biological information.

We should educate them on what biological information is.

We should admit that the origin of biological information is poorly understood.

 

I followed up with a question:

Can you give an example? Is Lenski’s experement an example of such biological information arriving? If so, why? If not, why not?

colewd responded:

I understand you think the Lenski experiment is evidence of rmns creating biological information despite very small changes to the actual DNA sequences.

Lets agree to disagree here or we may derail the op.

In order to not detail the OP this OP has been created for further discussion.

Some questions for colewd:

Is there a threshold of the size of the changes before biological information can be said to have been created? What is it?

Does the length of the DNA sequence have to change before it is considered that new biological information has been created?

What was the change in the amount of biological information in the Lenski experiment? Did it go up, down or stay the same? Justify your answer.

Is it impossible for ‘rmns’ to create new biological information? If so, where does it actually come from? And how do you know that?

What is the definition of “significant biological information”? Can you put a figure on it? If you can’t how do you know that “rmns” cannot achieve that level of change?

What is the maximum “rmns” can achieve on it’s own with regard to “biological information”? Can it increase, decrease or do nothing?

 

134 thoughts on “Biological information

  1. CharlieM: This is a good example of the life forces contained in the different cell types. Stem cells have vast regenerative capabilities whereas in becoming neurons the cells have given up this ability but they enable consciousness. Plants have great regenerative potential but show little sign of being conscious, whereas humans have little regenerative power by comparison but make up for it in consciousness. Salamanders fall somewhere in between these extremes.

    I can just see how a person of a certain type could think he was making sense here. And that sort of person probably wouldn’t be interested in what other people think. But here goes anyway.

    Differences between species are genetic in nature. Differences in bioelectric fields during development are the indirect result of differences in genomes. There is no developmental tradeoff between consciousness and regeneration. All this is in your imagination. You have no evidence for any of your beliefs.

  2. stcordova (in reply to the following question by Allan Miller):

    And whence comes this ‘bioelectricity’?

    Is it related to membrane potential?

    Yes it is according to the article:

    Every biological cell has a voltage, which changes depending on the balance of charged atoms called ions on either side of the cell membrane. These differences in electrical potential, governed by ion channels and pumps on cell membranes, carry information.

    For a long time we thought this intercellular chit-chat was mostly concerned with housekeeping duties: “Send this waste over there!”, More fuel needed here!”. What we’re learning now, however, is that it is much more important than that, says Nestor Oviedo at the University of California, Merced. “In a way bioelectricity tells cells whether to divide, whether to differentiate, whether to migrate,” he says…

    In 2010, Levin and Oviedo lopped off planarians’ heads and tails, and treated the remaining fragments with a chemical bath known to inhibit the flow of ions between cells. Rather than regrow replicas of the parts that had gone missing, in the normal way, these planarians grew heads on both ends. “That showed for the first time, that these electrical synapses are important for deciding head verses tail,” says Levin.

    And here’s where things get really kooky. In follow-up experiments, the team put the two-headed worms in plain water for a few weeks, with no electricity-tampering chemicals. They then hacked off each end again. When the flatworms regenerated, they didn’t revert to their original programming, but instead grew two new heads.

    This doesn’t make sense, says Levin-at least not without the bioelectricity’s influence. The experiments did nothing to alter the planarian’s genomes and so, after all the chemically altered tissue is cut off, one might assume that the worm would go back to building the same body plan it has always built. But it doesn’t. Instead the cells somehow remember the new instructions.

    They also state that Min Zhao at the university of California, Davis:

    has demonstrated that electric fields can mobilise and guide sheets of cells towards a wound.

  3. John Harshman: I can just see how a person of a certain type could think he was making sense here. And that sort of person probably wouldn’t be interested in what other people think.

    I am very interested in what people think, that’s mainly why I am here.

    But here goes anyway.

    Differences between species are genetic in nature.

    Genes differ between species, so do habits, physical characteristics and appearance, athletic abilities, tolerance of environmental conditions. You assume that the root cause of all these differences lie in the genes, I don’t assume that.

    Differences in bioelectric fields during development are the indirect result of differences in genomes.

    Not differences in the genome. I would agree that differences in gene expression plays a part. What do you think is the cause of these differences? Isn’t the genome supposed to be the same in all nucleated cells? So what do you mean by, “differences in the genomes”?

    There is no developmental tradeoff between consciousness and regeneration. All this is in your imagination. You have no evidence for any of your beliefs.

    Would you agree that there is a coincidence, if not correlation, between a lack of cells which can regenerate and cells which are involved in consciousness and awareness? The same applies between those organisms that have good regenerative capabilities and those that display higher consciousness?

    Humans cannot regenerate lens or retinal cells and we have lost the ability to regenerate cochlear hairs which are so important for hearing. Would not the retention of this ability be a distinct advantage to survival? The same goes for limb regeneration.

  4. John Harshman: Differences between species are genetic in nature.

    Genetic differences, sure. But no one has been able to link the genetic differences to the anatomical and physiological differences observed.

  5. Neil Rickert: I’d be okay with Sal believing that, if he could also believe that his God designed it so that the world is several billions of years old.

    Or the earth is just made out of old material

  6. Frankie: Genetic differences, sure. But no one has been able to link the genetic differences to the anatomical and physiological differences observed.

    Are you claiming we’ve found no link between gene expression and morphology?

  7. Richie, we have been over and over this- many times. Genes influence development. Genomes do not determine what will develop. And no one has linked the genetic differences to the anatomical and physiological differences.

  8. Frankie: Or the earth is just made out of old material

    So you think the earth could be young, but made of out maternal that is itself old? Are you a YEC?

  9. LoL! @ OM- anyone who has a different opinion on the age of the earth is automatically a YEC. Well seeing that yours doesn’t have any testable hypotheses that would make you an anti-science clueless poseur.

  10. CharlieM:
    Genes differ between species, so do habits, physical characteristics and appearance, athletic abilities, tolerance of environmental conditions. You assume that the root cause of all these differences lie in the genes, I don’t assume that.

    Yes, in fact you assume they don’t, because you strongly want that to be true. But there is no evidence for your idea and overwhelming evidence against it.

    Not differences in the genome. I would agree that differences in gene expression plays a part. What do you think is the cause of these differences? Isn’t the genome supposed to be the same in all nucleated cells? So what do you mean by, “differences in the genomes”?

    I mean differences in the DNA sequences that make up the genome, whether point mutations, indels, or rearrangements. You confuse two different processes, individual development and cell differentiation on the one hand and evolution and individual descent on the other. You must understand that epigenetic factors are inherited by cell lines during development, but that in reproduction each individual is reduced to a single cell and all that differentiation disappears, only to be rebuilt during development of the new individual. Only DNA sequence is stably inherited across generations and only DNA sequence can account for long-term differences among populations.

    Would you agree that there is a coincidence, if not correlation, between a lack of cells which can regenerate and cells which are involved in consciousness and awareness? The same applies between those organisms that have good regenerative capabilities and those that display higher consciousness?

    I would agree that you have cherry-picked a few examples in order to force them into a pre-conceived pattern that’s congenial to your view.

    I’m pretty sure neither your lens nor your cochlear hairs display higher consciousness.

  11. Frankie:
    LoL! @ OM- anyone who has a different opinion on the age of the earth is automatically a YEC. Well seeing that yours doesn’t have any testable hypotheses that would make you an anti-science clueless poseur.

    There is one YEC, a certain Joe Gallien, who is on record as asserting the Earth is “young” (i.e. only 6000 years old) but that God created it using 4.5 billion year old material. Have you ever heard of such a stupid claim?

  12. LoL! @ adapa’s FAIL- Please link to the evidence that supports your claim or retract it for being a malicious lie.

  13. Adapa: There is one YEC, a certain Joe Gallien, who is on record as asserting the Earth is “young” (i.e. only 6000 years old) but that God created it using 4.5 billion year old material. Have you ever heard of such a stupid claim?

    The one who’s chubby pic was in a YEC magazine?

  14. Frankie:
    Richie, we have been over and over this- many times. Genes influence development. Genomes do not determine what will develop. And no one has linked the genetic differences to the anatomical and physiological differences.

    Some cloned animals refute your silly notion:

    http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/04/08/1049567684834.html

    and

    https://embryo.asu.edu/pages/first-successful-cloning-gaur-2000-advanced-cell-technology

    Now how did that ever happen since genomes don’t determine what will develop…..domestic cattle (Bos taurus) giving birth to endangered species….well….well..seems your mistaken Frankie something which surprises no one.

  15. BK: Some cloned animals refute your silly notion:

    http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/04/08/1049567684834.html

    and

    https://embryo.asu.edu/pages/first-successful-cloning-gaur-2000-advanced-cell-technology

    Now how did that ever happen since genomes don’t determine what will develop…..domestic cattle (Bos taurus)giving birth to endangered species….well….well..seems your mistaken Frankie something which surprises no one.

    1- It isn’t my silly notion. Geneticists and developmental biologists are who I got it from

    2- The surrogate was the same type of organism and its egg donated everything the donated skin cells needed to develop into the proper organism

    3- To Creationist those clones would show that the donors and the surrogates are from the same baramin

  16. BK:Now how did that ever happen since genomes don’t determine what will develop…..domestic cattle (Bos taurus)giving birth to endangered species….well….well..seems your mistaken Frankie something which surprises no one.

    You may be talking past one another here. I don’t think anyone is claiming genomes have NO influence over what develops, but neither is anyone saying that genomes determine 100% of what develops. Instead, genomes embody a surprisingly wide range of potential development, and external influences are an important factor in determining exactly what does develop.

  17. Frankie: 1- It isn’t my silly notion. Geneticists and developmental biologists are who I got it from

    and it is the geneticists and developmental biologists that have determined if you transplant the nucleus of one species into a different species what develops is the species which contributed the genome.

    Frankie: 2- The surrogate was the same type of organism and its egg donated everything the donated skin cells needed to develop into the proper organism

    Same Family different species. If you transplanted the nucleus of a domestic cow a domestic cow would develop, in each and every case the genome of the nucleus donor determines what will develop. Which is contrary to your claim that:

    Frankie: Genomes do not determine what will develop.

    The genome clearly determines what develops as the evidence indicates.

    Frankie: 3- To Creationist those clones would show that the donors and the surrogates are from the same baramin

    So?

  18. BK: and it is the geneticists and developmental biologists that have determined if you transplant the nucleus of one species into a different species what develops is the species which contributed the genome.

    It isn’t really a different species. Just because we can call it that doesn’t make it so. And they are using much more than just the genome

    The genome clearly determines what develops as the evidence indicates.

    The evidence for cloning doesn’t indicate that. You are not using just a genome. You are using the entire egg of the surrogate.

    If you transplant the genome of a dog into a cow a dog would not develop

    2- The surrogate was the same type of organism and its egg donated everything the donated skin cells needed to develop into the proper organism

    What part of that don’t you understand? They used more than just the genome

  19. Frankie:

    3- To Creationist those clones would show that the donors and the surrogates are from the same baramin

    “I’m not a YEC, honest! I just argue for baraminology and a young Earth on the web!” 😀

  20. I never argued for a 6,000 year old earth. The only thing I have said about the age of the earth is that you have to know how the earth was made in order to determine its age. That happens to be a fact so I can see why it would confuse someone like adapa. Also just because I understand the Creation position and baraminology does not make me a YEC. But I understand that you are desperate to score “points”. Too bad you can’t do so with some actual science.

    But anyway, a materialist like you doesn’t have any place to pick on someone else. Yours is a position out of desperation and it is the antithesis of science.

  21. Frankie: That happens to be a fact so I can see why it would confuse someone like adapa.

    People who cannot bother to listen, learn, and understand are often confused.

  22. Frankie to BK: And they are using much more than just the genome

    How true this is.

    Here Jon Lieff M.D. argues that information fields are necessary to produce the form of an organism.

    While both chemical and electrical factors are clearly relevant to determining the three dimensional function and shapes of cells, organs and creatures, it appears that an information field of some kind would be necessary for the level of information needed. Recent research shows the importance of the electrical potentials, gradients and fields.

    The transplanted nucleus does not contain just the genome. Nuclei also consist of electric fields which are as much a part of them as the DNA they contain. The DNA in a genome cannot be directly perceived by our normal senses, an information field even less so. But just because they cannot be perceived does not mean that they are absent.

    Regarding the transplanted nucleus, its electrical field is no less demonstrably real than the DNA molecules within it.

  23. Frankie: It isn’t really a different species.

    yes they were both a different genus and different species from the surrogate so you are correct in that regard.

    Frankie: The evidence for cloning doesn’t indicate that. You are not using just a genome. You are using the entire egg of the surrogate.

    Sure it does. The organism that develops is the one from which the nucleus/genome……in every case.

    Frankie: If you transplant the genome of a dog into a cow a dog would not develop

    Certainly, because of rejection issues that ‘we’ currently can’t control not because the genome does not determine what develops.

    Frankie: The surrogate was the same type of organism and its egg donated everything the donated skin cells needed to develop into the proper organism

    Outside of the mtDNA of the surrogate egg what else is provided by the host egg cell? The host egg cell provides everything but the genome which is what determines what type of organism develops….what don’t you understand about that?

  24. CharlieM quoting exchange:

    stcordova (in reply to the following question by Allan Miller):

    And whence comes this ‘bioelectricity’?

    Is it related to membrane potential?

    Yes it is according to the article:
    ….

    Thank you very much! Awesome.

  25. BK: yes they were both a different genus and different species from the surrogate so you are correct in that regard.

    They are the SAME species. Just because we can call them different species doesn’t make it so. All of the different races of human are still the same species. These can also interbreed.

    The organism that develops is the one from which the nucleus/genome……in every case.

    Because it is the same type of organism of that of the egg donor. And you just admitted it is more than the genome.

    Certainly, because of rejection issues that ‘we’ currently can’t control not because the genome does not determine what develops.

    Why would it be rejected? Because the genome doesn’t determine what will develop. The program tries to run but the genome causes it to stop.

    Outside of the mtDNA of the surrogate egg what else is provided by the host egg cell?

    Just everything else- cytoplasm, microtubule arrays, cytoskeleton, endoplasmic reticulum, golgi apparatus, etc.

    Your examples of cloning are no different than sexual reproduction. That is really all cloning is- sexual reproduction via artificial insemination. So no, it doesn’t demonstrate that genomes determine what will develop.

  26. The OP seems to accept without question the reality of biological information.

    If cells really do store, send, receive, process, etc., information, what are the implications of that?

  27. Mung,

    Everything contains information, Mung. Even there not being a thing is information. Information is the reduction of uncertainty.

  28. Mung:
    The OP seems to accept without question the reality of biological information.

    If cells really do store, send, receive, process, etc., information, what are the implications of that?

    What they mean is the “accidents” just so happen to add up to meaningful reliable codes. VJ has now proudly accepted that “accidental invention” is not as improbable as a “layman” would think.

    So when we say storing, sending, receiving, processing, etc..don’t take that as literal. What they mean to say (and it is implied in every sentence about evolution) is that accidents give the appearance of doing that, they are not ACTUALLY doing that. They are just being accidents, but sometimes accidents can multiply. So when it seems like processes are taking place, that is just our poor subjective thought making us believe that is what is really is happening.

    But no, its no plan, its no system, its not doing anything, other than just falling down, in what looks like orchestrated movements. Like a bomb exploding and just so happening to paint a Mona Lisa.

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