X-Message-Number: 1035
From:  (Jonathan Dale)
Newsgroups: sci.bio,sci.med,sci.cryonics
Subject: Re: Better Living through DNA Encryption
Message-ID: <>
Date: 21 Jul 92 08:30:27 GMT
References: <>

An intriguing idea.  I will now attempt to shoot it down for you.  My 
apologies if I fail (succeed?).  :)

As I see it, your proposal is in two parts.
  1) All genetic material is encoded.
  2) An error checking mechanism (CRC) has been added.
I'll address part 2) first.  Good idea.  Do it.  What more can I say?  :)
Seriously, there are some kinds of error repair, but totally wiping out the
damaged cell would help avoid things like, say, cancer...

There is a problem though.  What unit has the CRC check?  Each gene?  Each
chromosome?  Some other unit?  Remember that promoters and other important
non-coding things are in the DNA.  To determine whether or not you need to
decode and use the DNA, you need to decode and look at the DNA...  Hmmm....
If you don't encode the non-coding regions, they can be corrupted; corruption
of promoters and such could be a cause of cancer because of suddenly increased
production of a gene product.  If you encode it, you have to keep decoding
it to look at, either taking lots of energy or leaving a decoded promoter
around where it can be corrupted.

1) I think encoding your DNA would be a good defense against retro-viruses
which attempt to place their DNA in yours.  However, you mistakenly
suggest that all viruses work this way.  Most viruses enter the cell,
use its enzymes to replicate itself, lyse the cell and go on their merry 
way.  I suppose you could limit the cell's enzymes to working only on
encoded DNA, but I think you have to have enzymes that work on decoded
DNA because you have to decode DNA to access the promoter regions and such.
Maybe you can find a way around this.  Anyway, retro-viruses include AIDS but
not the common cold.  So, you may have a cure for AIDS, but we'll all still
have the sniffles.  They'll probably give you the Nobel Prize anyway.  :)

Just some loose thoughts there.  Bizarre idea.  You could probably simplify it
a lot (at least the engineering parts) by ripping out all the useless garbage 
in our DNA, which is over 95% (?) useless....

Say, I wonder if transposons would cause cells to fails their CRCs and die?

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=1035