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★ DNA

DNA: see Humanity & Genetics & Biology & Clone & Life & Evolution & Body & Animals & Health & Ancestors & Heredity & Cells

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3The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars.  We are made of star-stuff.  Carl Sagan, Cosmos 

 

 

DNA: a master molecule of life on Earth.  It’s made of four molecular parts called nucleotides, which constitute the four letters of the genetic code, the language of heredity.  Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan, Cosmos: One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue, PBS 1980

 

Human DNA is a coiled ladder, a billion nucleotides long.  ibid.

 

 

For the first time in Earth’s history man has created synthetic life.  Creating Synthetic Life, 2010

 

Venter’s team developed a new technique called shotgun sequencing.  It breaks the DNA molecules into little pieces.  ibid.  

 

If all the letters are put into the correct order and in the right place so the molecule can sustain itself and reproduce, you have created a living organism.  ibid.  

 

For the first time in science Carole Lartigue has turned one species into another.  ibid. 

 

 

This is the first self-replicating species that we’ve had on the planet whose parent is a computer.  Dr Craig Venter

 

 

You take a chromosome from one cell and you put it in another; technologically that turned out to be extremely difficult to do.  Dr Craig Venter

 

 

DNA: on average only one mistake in a billion letters.  Brian Cox, Wonders of Life I: What is Life? BBC 2013

 

 

The genes are made of nucleic acid – that’s where the action is.  Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man 12/13: Generation Upon Generation, BBC 1973

 

On 2nd April 1953 James Watson and Francis Crick sent to Nature the paper which describes this structure in DNA.  ibid.

 

The child is not a prisoner of its inheritance ... The child is an individual, the bee is not.  ibid.    

 

 

During the rest of his voyage Darwin would encounter a vast variety of plants and animal species he’d never seen before.  He’d discover fossils of giant extinct species that seemed to resemble the living animals around him.  And in the Galapagos he’d encounter different species of birds and tortoises uniquely adapted to the conditions on each of the islands.  Everywhere he looked he seemed to find evidence that Life on Earth was constantly changing.  Andrew Marr, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, BBC 2010

 

In 1953 a British and American scientist working together in Cambridge announced they had discovered the structure of DNA.  It confirmed Darwin’s theory that all life is linked by common decent.  Including humans.  ibid.

 

 

More than a hundred and fifty years on, Darwins instincts are triumphantly borne out with the mapping of the Human Genome.  Among the human races there are no significant molecular differences at all.  Its not arrogance Darwin teaches but modesty and respect.  Andrew Marr, Great Britons: Darwin, BBC 2002

 

 

The switches then turn on or off the genes that do make the beak.  Armand Marie Leroi, What Darwin Never Knew, BBC 2009

 

Just a 1% difference in the DNA between humans and chimps ... Some thirty million of DNA’s chemical letters: as As Ts Cs and Gs.  ibid.

 

Many of the differences were not in genes but in switches.  ibid.

 

We now know that DNA works in many different ways: through genes that make the stuff of our bodies, through switches that turn those genes on and off, and through sequences of DNA’s chemicals that throw those switches.  ibid. 

 

 

We are living records of our past and so we can look at DNA of individuals today and get a sense of how they came to be that way.  Professor Pardis Sabeti, Harvard University

 

 

The chimpanzees are our closest relatives; that they differ from us only by that 1% of DNA.  The Human Spark II: So Human, So Chimp, PBS 2008

 

 

Is there any evidence of DNA splicing in the ancient past?  Ancient Aliens s3e2: Aliens and Monsters, History 2011

 

 

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones.  Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born.  The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia.  Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton.  We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people.  In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.  We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?  Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow

 

 

DNA is the computer recipe for life itself, unravelling like magnetic tape on some giant computer.  Richard Dawkins

 

 

It’s my belief that DNA had to be a digital code of life or evolution would never have worked.  Richard Dawkins

 

 

The messages that DNA molecules contain are all but eternal when seen against the timescale of individual lifetimes.  The lifetimes of DNA messages (give or take a few mutations) are measured in units ranging from millions of years to hundreds of millions of years; or, in other words, ranging from 10,000 individual lifetimes to a trillion individual lifetimes.  Each individual organism should be seen as a temporary vehicle, in which DNA messages spend a tiny fraction of their geological lifetimes.  Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker

 

 

We are machines built by DNA whose purpose is to make more copies of the same DNA ... This is exactly what we are for.  We are machines for propagating DNA, and the propagation of DNA is a self-sustaining process.  It is every living object’s sole reason for living.  Richard Dawkins, Royal Institution Christmas Lecture 1991  

 

 

Once you’ve got on a planet anywhere in the universe high-fidelity replication of coded information, I think everything else follows. Richard Dawkins   

 

 

In Texas alone, thirty-five condemned people have been exonerated since DNA evidence became admissible in court.  Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth 

 

We understand pretty well how the information content builds up over geological time.  Darwin called it natural selection, and we can put it more precisely: the non-random survival of information that encodes embryological recipes for that survival.  Self-evidently it is to be expected that recipes for their own survival will tend to survive.  What is special about DNA is that it survives not in its material self but in the form of an indefinite series of copies.  ibid.  p405

 

Information on how to handle the present so as to survive into the future is necessarily gleaned from the past.  Non-random survival of DNA in ancestral bodies is the obvious way in which information from the past is recorded for future use, and this is the route by which the primary database of DNA is built up.  But there are three further ways in which information about the past is archived in such a way that it can be used to improve future chances of survival.  There are the immune system, the nervous system, and culture.  ibid.  p406  

 

 

Not only would the boat have to be huge but how are you going to collect every animal on the planet and put them on that ship?  So could it be possible that Noah’s Ark was once again misunderstood technology, and Noah’s Ark was a DNA bank?  Giorgio A Tsoukalos, publisher Legendary Times Magazine

 

 

DNA had never been used to solve a crime ... A forensic revolution was under way.  The BTK Killer, National Geographic 2012

 

 

The DNA evidence in the O J Simpson case didn’t convince the jury.  The Case of O J Simpson

 

 

DNA exonerations have been responsible for releasing over 250 innocent people from prison.  And it has helped expose cases of prosecutorial misconduct all over the country.  Penn & Teller: Bullshit! s8e7: Criminal Justice, Showtime 2010

 

 

Your father and I have kept the secret of your DNA re-sequencing for almost twenty-five years and we’re not going to let it out now.  Star Trek: Deep Space Nine s5e16: Doctor Bashir, I Presume, Bashir’s mother

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