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The New Biology And
E-Newsletter No. 72
Learning how to harness your mind to promote
growth is the secret of life, which is why I refer you in this newsletter to a
groundbreaking work in the field of cell biology: The Biology of Belief.
Of course the secret of life is not a secret at all. Teachers of consciousness
like The Buddha and Christ have been telling us the same story for millennia.
Now science is pointing in the same direction. It is not our genes but our
beliefs that control our lives. New breakthroughs in the field of biology show
how molecules in the cell cooperate and work together and are controlled by
signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages emanating from
our positive and negative thoughts. The new belief is that our bodies can be
changed as we retrain our thinking.
Social factors, not just genes, influence the reproductive fitness of female dolphins, according to a study based on more than twenty years’ worth of observations of a wild Australian bottlenose dolphin colony. In fact, social factors—whom a dolphin associates with, and how closely—appear to be more important than genes in determining a female’s likelihood of raising a calf to 3 years, an age at which it has a good chance of surviving on its own. “Females who do well hang out with other females who do well," said Celine Frere, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and lead author of the study published November 8, 2010, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Making use of new statistical methods, her work is the first to analyze in tandem the effects of genetics and social bonds in wild animals.
You’ll notice that, in the section above, I did not discuss DNA at all. That’s because it is the changing of the myriad number of intracellular proteins’ electromagnetic charges that is responsible for their behavior-generating movement, not DNA. The new biology shows that genes and DNA are controlled by these same signals from outside the cell to then direct what happens inside the cell.
The traditional belief was that genetic information from DNA controlled our biology. In the Origin of Species , Darwin suggested that “heredity” factors were passed on from generation to generation, controlling the traits of offspring. Darwin’s influence was so great that scientists myopically focused on identifying that hereditary material which, they thought, controlled life.
Darwin, at the end of his life conceded that his evolutionary theory had shortchanged the role of the environment. In an 1876 letter to Moritz Wagner he wrote: "In my opinion, the greatest error which I have committed has been not allowing sufficient weight to the direct action of the environments, i.e., food, climate, social factors, etc., independently of natural selection…" 
Since the dawning of the Age of Genetics, we have been programmed to accept that we are subservient to the power of our genes. Scientists have linked lots of genes to lots of different diseases and traits, but scientists have rarely found that one gene causes a trait or a disease.
The confusion occurs when the media repeatedly distort the meaning of two words: Correlation and Causation. For example; if I say my car key "controls" my car, you might think that makes sense because you know you need the key to turn on the ignition. But does the key actually control the car? In truth the key is "correlated" with control of the car; the person who turns the key actually controls the car. Specific genes are correlated with an organism’s behavior and characteristics. But these genes are not activated until something triggers them.
Genetic control has become a metaphor in our society. It has been repeated for such a long time that scientists have forgotten it is a hypothesis, not a truth. It has never been proven and, in fact, has been undermined by the latest scientific research. When a gene product is needed, a signal from its environment, not an emergent property of the gene itself, activates expression of that gene. In other words, when it comes to genetic control, “It’s the environment, stupid.”
The Human Genome Project toppled the one-gene for one protein concept. Conventional thought held that the body needed one gene to provide the blueprint for each of the 100,000 plus different proteins that make up our bodies. Add that to at least 20,000 regulatory genes , which orchestrate the activity of the protein-encoding genes. Scientists concluded that the human genome would contain a minimum of 120,000 genes located within the twenty-three pairs of human chromosomes.
Geneticists experienced a comparable shock when, contrary to their expectations of over 120,000 genes, they found the entire human genome consists of only approximately 25,000 genes. More than eighty percent of the presumed and required DNA does not exist! It is now clear that we do not gain our undoubted complexity over more primitive life forms by using more genes. 
In retrospect, scientists should have known that genes couldn’t provide the control of our lives. By definition, the brain is the organism responsible for controlling and coordinating the physiology and behavior of an organism. But is the nucleus truly the “brain” of the cell? When we remove the nucleus and its DNA-containing material, a procedure called enucleation, if our assumption is correct, it should result in immediate cell death. Following enucleation, many cells can survive for up to two or more months without genes. Viable enucleated cells do not lie about like brain-dead lumps of cytoplasm on life-support systems. These cells actively ingest and metabolize food, maintain coordinated operation of their physiological systems (respiration, digestion, excretion, motility, etc.), retain an ability to communicate with other cells, and are able to engage in appropriate responses to growth and protection requiring environmental stimuli, which imply that the cell’s “brain” is still intact and functioning.
This is not without side effects. Without their genes, cells are not able to divide, nor are they able to reproduce any protein parts they lose through normal wear and tear of the cytoplasm. The inability to replace defective cytoplasmic proteins contributes to mechanical dysfunctions that ultimately results in the death of the cell.
The fact that enucleated cells retain their biological functions in absence of genes is by no means a new discovery. Over a hundred years ago, classical embryologists routinely removed the nuclei from dividing egg cells and showed that a single, enucleated egg cell was able to develop as far as the blastula, an embryonic stage consisting of forty or more cells. Today, enucleated cells are used for industrial purposes as living “feeder” layers in cell cultures designed for virus vaccine production.
If the nucleus and its genes are not the
cell’s brain, then what exactly is DNA’s contribution to cellular life?
Enucleated cells die, not because they have lost their brain but because they
have lost their reproductive capabilities. Without the ability to reproduce
their parts, enucleated cells cannot replace failed protein building blocks, nor
replicate themselves. So the nucleus is not the brain of the cell--the nucleus
is the cell’s gonad! Confusing the gonad with the brain is an understandable
error because science has always been and still is a patriarchal endeavor.
Males have often been accused of thinking with their gonads, so it’s not
entirely surprising that science has inadvertently confused the nucleus with the
So where is the cell’s brain? I believe that when you understand how the chemical and physical structure of the cell’s membrane works, you’ll start calling it as I do, the “mem-Brain.” The true secret of life does not lie in the famed double helix. The true secret of life lies in understanding the elegantly simple biological mechanisms by which your body translates environmental signals into behavior.
While the Human Genome Project was making headlines, a group of scientists were inaugurating a new, revolutionary field in biology called Epigenetics. The science of Epigenetics means “control above genes.”This has profoundly changed our understanding of how life is controlled. In the last decade, epigenetic research has established that DNA blueprints passed down through genes are not set in concrete at birth. Genes are not destiny! Environmental influences, including nutrition, stress, and emotions, can modify those genes without changing their basic blueprint. And those modifications, epigeneticists have discovered, can be passed on via the double helix.
To better understand how the cell membrane and the environment interact, think of the cell membrane structurally and functionally as a computer chip. Start first with phospholipid molecules that make up the bi-layer of the cell membrane. They are arranged like regimented soldiers in regular, repeated patterns like soldiers on parade. By definition, a structure whose molecules are arranged in regular, repeated patterns is defined as a crystal. Two types of crystals exist. Hard crystals like diamonds, rubies, and even salt. The other kind of crystal has a more fluid structure even though its molecules maintain an organized pattern. Familiar examples of liquid crystals include digital watch faces and laptop computer screens. Thus, “the membrane is a liquid crystal.”
Then, the membrane conducts some things across while keeping other things out. So, “the membrane is a semiconductor.” And, lastly, the membrane contains receptor proteins , and a class of effector proteins called channels to provide the all important means for the cell to let in nutrients and let out waste matter. So,” the membrane contains gates and channels.” A chip is a crystal semiconductor with gates and channels. The cell membrane is indeed a structural and functional equivalent (homologue) of a silicon chip!
So what’s the big deal you ask? The first big insight is that computers and cells are programmable. The second insight is that the programmer lies outside the computer/cell. Biological behavior and gene activity are dynamically linked to information from the environment, which is downloaded into the cell. The nucleus is simply the "memory disk." Lets call it the "Double Helix Memory Disk." You can remove the disk containing a large number of programs after you download those programs into active memory without interfering with the program that is running. Enucleated cells only get in trouble when they need the gene programs to replace old proteins or make new different proteins. The membrane’s receptor proteins represent the cell’s “keyboard.”The membrane’s effector proteins act as the cell’s “central processing unit”(CPU).
The moment of transformation is when you extend this knowledge from Epigenetics (the new science of biology), using traditional Newtonian Physics, to the “new” science of Quantum Physics to gain self-empowerment. Once you grapple with quantum physics you realize “matter” is an illusion. The quantum perspective reveals that the universe is an integration of interdependent energy fields that are entangled in a meshwork of interactions. One realizes there is massive complexity in the intercommunication among the physical parts and the energy fields that make up the whole. The Newtonian universe is linear. The Quantum universe is holistic. This awareness that such profoundly different mechanics control the structure and behavior of matter should offer biomedicine new insights into understanding health and disease.
1. Lipton. B.H. (2005). The Biology of Belief. Hay House, Inc.
2. Darwin, Charles (1859). The Origin of Species. Penguin Books, London.
3. Darwin, F. (1888).
4. Nijhout, H. F. (1990). “Metaphors and the Role of Genes in Development.” Bioessays 12(9): 441-446.
5. Pennisi, E. (2003a, b).Science 300::14444484; 301:1040-1041. : Pray, L. A. (20040. The Scientist 14-20. ; Goodman. (2003). Bio-IT World.
6. Baltimore, D. (2001). Nature 409:814-816.
7. Pray, L. A. (2004).”Epigenetics: Genome, Meet Your Environment.” The Scientist14-20. ; Surani, M. A. (2001).Nature 414:122+.
8. REik, W. and Walter, J. (2001). Nature Reviews Genetics 2:21+; Surani, M. A. (2001). Nature 414-122+.
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