Announced with great fanfare in late November, 2006, scientists have discovered that human DNA is far more variable than previously thought. Contrary to previous beliefs, as much as 10 percent of human genes vary wildly from one person to the next. The mainstream press is hailing the discovery and some sort of breakthrough that will shed light on so-called "incurable" diseases and give researchers the ability to create more targeted medicines. (There's always a pro-Pharma slant in the mainstream media isn't there?) In reality, this new DNA discovery explains why most pharmaceuticals don't work for most people.
More importantly, this discovery humbles us, and shows us that even our top scientists know less about human DNA than they once thought. Researching DNA is a lot like researching astronomy: the more we learn, the less we realize we know. It's as if every newly discovered fact unveils the existence of ten new questions we never knew existed.
The mainstream media, in its usual limited view, is reporting this discovery as a breakthrough that will help scientists develop new drugs to treat disease. Every "Eureka!" moment having anything to do with the genetic code seems to lead the mainstream media to the same advertiser-pleasing conclusion, but they haven't even begun to realize the big story here. The real news in this discovery, you see, has nothing to do with pharmaceuticals or even medical science. It is larger and more profound than any of us could have possibly imagined.
Allow me to explain...
Where are all the missing blueprints?
Until today, it was widely believed that individual genes directly controlled physical traits in the human body (and even mental and behavioral traits, according to some), but now it turns out that a surprisingly large number of individuals have wild variations in their genetic code, such as multiple copies of the same gene or even entire genes that are missing from their DNA. And yet they're not walking around without a kidney, for example, or missing their left eyeball.
It's all quite shocking and rather difficult to explain from a Western point of view where scientists believe that DNA is like a computer program containing sequential instructions for building a physical organism. Truth is, there aren't enough genes in the human genome to even build a human being in the first place. A human has about 30,000 genes, yet an adult human has trillions of specialized cells governed by millions of different chemical reactions. How do 30,000 genes control all this?
Only a few years ago (2001), humans were believed to have 100,000 genes while all simple life forms contained far fewer. But this assumption of humans being some "advanced" life form turned out to be utterly false. It turns out that the mustard weed contains the same number of genes as humans, and even the common mouse has nearly as many. From certain types of worms to common trees, there are many organisms on the planet that have very nearly the same number of genes as human beings (and some have more).
Even more surprising to most, human beings appear to actually be human-bacteria hybrids. We are not all human, in other words. At least 200 genes in our genetic code were mysteriously borrowed from bacteria, we now know. Nobody is sure how they got there (did early humans mate with bacteria? Odd...), but we are sure that they exist.
Furthermore, if you look at the composition of cells in the typical human body, and you start counting them all, you realize that most of the cells in the typical human body are not human. Read that again, if you need to. It's a shocking statement, but it's entirely true. The vast majority of cells contained in the human body are bacteria cells -- about 100 trillion of them for a typical human being.
In other words, when you walk around, most of the cells you're carrying with you are not even you. The importance of this is in understanding that the human organism does not exist in isolation to the world around it. Regardless of what we believe, we are all closer to nature than we think. In fact, we are literally living with nature inside us, permeating our cells and accounting for more of us than us ourselves.
There's also no mention of epigenetics in all this news about the human genome. As recently understood -- to the great surprise of the hard science community, no doubt -- epigenetic factors control the expression of genes, activating or deactivating them based on environmental factors such as nutrition or exposure to synthetic chemicals.
Epigenetic factors are inherited, too, and passed from one generation to the next, meaning that if one woman suffers from chronic nutritional deficiencies when she conceives a child, the detrimental side effects of that nutritional deficiency will be passed down through multiple generations (at least four generations, according to Pottenger, but perhaps as many as seven according to others).
So DNA is not the only archive of information that's passed from mother to child. Even if we understood everything about DNA, we would still lack the big picture unless we also understood epigenetic factors -- and most old-school researchers and Western scientists don't even believe in epigenetic factors, adhering to the outdated point of view that genes alone control everything, and that all disease is predetermined, with environmental factors having little or no effect.
The human genome reflects the patterns of nature
Most Western scientists currently believe the human genome is sort of like a biological computer program; a series of instructions that tells the cells how to construct a complete organism containing trillions of new cells. Of course, there's no real explanation as to how a mere 30,000 genes could oversee the construction, maintenance and operation of such a highly complex organism. As Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, said, "It's astounding that we get by with so few protein-coding genes, but that seems to be sufficient because here we all are." It's hard to argue with logic like that.
Indeed, it does work. But not in the way Western scientists believe. My own personal theory of the human genome takes special note of the multiple copies of many genes that have now been observed across a wide spectrum of the human population. Some people carry one, two, three or even four copies of the same gene.
If you look around in nature, where else do you notice copies of the same information? In harmonics, of course. A complex sound such as a single note on a violin is not made up of a simple square wave tone, it's made up of highly complex harmonics which give the violin its own tone and timbre, a sort of auditory personality. On an oscilloscope, these often appear as copies of the same underlying waveforms.
They're also called "overtones," and they're present throughout the human experience. Simple saying the word, "we," for example, involves shaping the mouth and tongue into an arrangement that creates complex, high-frequency overtones. The "ee" sound is the highest multi-frequency overtone sound created in human speech, but every vowel sound has its own unique pattern of repeating information. From low to high, it's "uuu" "ooo" "aaah" "eh" "eee."
Physically, a human being is more like musical expression than a set of construction blueprints. The human body has near-perfect symmetry and economies of expression through fractal geometry that are quite evident in the structure of the circulatory system, for example, or the nervous system. Just look at a drawing of veins and arteries and you'll notice the fractal patterns of geometry -- the same patterns you'll see drawn in the underside of a leaf, by the way.
The same is also true with human hair and skin cells. Every police detective knows that the human fingerprint is made up of readily identifiable patterns that are connected through a sort of biological artistry. In any human fingerprint, you'll notice the loops, swishes and curves that give strong clues to the underlying fractal geometry. Fingerprints aren't built with cellular bricks, they're built with repeating patterns that give us strong clues about the true structure of our DNA.
(Fractal geometry is also the dominant form of physical structure in nature, by the way. In fact, it was the study of plant leaves and mollusk shells that led to the discovery of fractal geometry.)
Throughout the human body, from the lining of the cells of the stomach to the structure of the eye, you find patterns that go way beyond mere construction blueprints. The human body is a symphony, a grand musical masterpiece played out in billions of variations across the planet.
And the DNA, in my view, is a holographic reflection of the whole being. The repeating patterns of genes and the symmetry of the double helix are all expressions of music. The human genome is a symphony, and it is through this symphony that we play the music of life. Combined with environmental factors and energetic factors (such as parental love), the symphony of human DNA creates a physical being. But it doesn't stop there. It also helps create the framework for an emotional being, an energetic being and a spiritual being.
Some scientists see nothing but cold, hard construction blueprints in that DNA. Others see God in the symphony, or Mother Nature directing the orchestra. What I see is a miracle of life, created with such masterful poetry and music that it is something to behold, to honor and to be humbled by. It is the ultimate statement of our connection to nature, for everywhere you look in nature, you see the same patterns we express, carried out in a range of melodies through the plants, animals and even the waters and skies. Looking closely at ourselves, we cannot help but notice nature. If we are keen observers, that is.
Western scientists refuse to hear the music
For Western scientists to think they've figured out the Human Genome, and that they can now use it to design new synthetic drugs that hijack the biochemical orchestra of the human body, is the epitome of medical arrogance. They refuse to recognize the miracle of human life, believing instead in the superiority of Man over nature. They would destroy a thousand symphonies to sell another million dollars worth of pharmaceuticals. Every day, they pad their fragile egos with "heroic" surgical procedures and organ transplants that grind the orchestra to a halt.
They are the music stoppers, the nature deniers... the rationalists. They believe all things are compartmentalized and separated. There is no connection between living things, according to the rationalists, and living creatures are nothing more than players in some cruel game called survival of the fittest.
But I say we are all unique, creative expressions of the same universal tune. Even our very blueprint -- our DNA -- is a symphony of expression that will never be understood until researchers start to think holographically rather than sequentially. DNA is a wonderful mystery, as is any good symphony, or novel, or collection of poetry. And just as a novel is more than the sum of its words, a human being is more than the accounting of her DNA. Let me give you a simple example to make this all more apparent.
In the paragraph below, each word represents a gene. What is this paragraph trying to say?
a, a, a, above, air, all, almost, alone, and, and, and, anywhere, as, breadth, brought, by, cluster, color, combining, crate, crooked, dropped, evening, fine, first-water, follow, freedom, from, glossy, greater, hair, hazy, i, i, image, in, in, in, in, it, it, it, it, it, i've, i've, i've, jewel, later, little, luster, might, moon, moon, new, of, of, of, of, on, one, one, or, ornament, over, please, pulled, put, run, seen, shining, shining, slowly, some, sorts, start, the, the, the, the, the, the, tilted, tree-and-farmhouse, trees, tried, tried, try, walking, wallow, water, with, with, wonder, you, your.
Presented as such, it seems to be nonsense, right? This is the Western view of the human genome, where each "word" (or gene) stands on its own, existing in some isolated way for the purpose of governing the construction of some correlated physical structure. Western scientists even use the term, "words" to describe genes, and they describe the variation in the protein sequences as different "spellings" of those words. Yet they completely miss the grammar of those words: the music, the poetry, the linguistics.
So let's take those same words (genes) and rearrange them to create music. Or poetry, as it were, thanks to Robert Frost:
The Freedom of the Moon
I've tried the new moon tilted in the air
Above a hazy tree-and-farmhouse cluster
As you might try a jewel in your hair.
I've tried it fine with little breadth of luster,
Alone, or in one ornament combining
With one first-water start almost shining.
I put it shining anywhere I please.
By walking slowly on some evening later,
I've pulled it from a crate of crooked trees,
And brought it over glossy water, greater,
And dropped it in, and seen the image wallow,
The color run, all sorts of wonder follow.
Do you see the difference? They are the same words as the nonsense paragraph shown earlier, but now suddenly the words create something far more complex and intelligent than the sum of their parts. Through the arrangement of the words, or the symphony of words, Robert Frost takes us on a journey that touches on the human experience, our relationship with nature and the meaning of life itself. All this has been brought forth by a set of words that seemed meaningless when read in isolated, absent the context of their interrelationships (or holographic relationships).
DNA is poetry, you see. And as long as Western scientists continue to look at genes in isolation, they will only see a scramble of isolated words whose meaning remains forever elusive. But genuine, curious scientists who are true enough to their own hearts to take a leap of faith at believing in the symphony of nature will find something far different in human DNA. They will find poetry, symmetry, harmonics... and a song of life that, if truly understood, would humble even the most brilliant among us.
You see, this year's discovery of widespread variability in the genetic code -- and gene copies, and missing genes -- is not something to be viewed as a way to sell more drugs. That view is childish. It is insulting to nature herself. This discovery is far more profound. It gives us an important clue that can help humankind remember where it came from. It reminds us that we are part of nature, not its conquerors or masters. We are, in fact, an expression of the very phenomena we are attempting to understand, and if we read the poetry of DNA correctly, we will realize that life itself is not about the accumulation of wealth, or stuff, or power over others, but rather the discovery of self.
And "self" does not exist in isolation. We are, in every way imaginable, intertwined. We are all made of the same stuff, wrought from the same patterns of nature, and in fact, formulated from the same musical notes played out in five billion unique but compatible tunes. With this discovery, Western science has concluded we are all more different from each other than previously thought, but I believe it is evidence that we are all just unique verses of the same universal poem.
also from this authour: How to End Cruelty to Animals, People and Nature.