DNA Clues
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The Information and
Genetic Code of DNA

Clues to the Origin of Life

by aristotle0, September 2015

Are there DNA clues to the origin of Life? An adaptation of a slide presentation by aristotle0.


Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids. A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid.
James D. Watson Francis H. Crick, Cambridge. Nature 1953, 25th April; 171:737-738

A Production of Amino Acids Under Possible Primitive Earth Conditions. Stanley L. Miller, University of Chicago. Science 1953, 15th May; 117:528-529

Following the landmark paper by Watson and Crick in 1953, it has been commonplace in referring to the information in DNA as being synonymous with term, genetic code.

Both Watson and Crick have also subsequently used the term code in this context.((1953 photo downloaded Mar 2009 from uslaw.com, 2003 photo downloaded Mar 2009 from reading.ac.uk))

That native DNA has coded information is well accepted and is uncontroversial.

Specifically, the ‘mini-Greek’ alphabet with 4 letters [see above diagram] is inspired by functional RNA, believed to be the basis of a stage in the evolution of life (the RNA World), and the Code Table above represents the entanglement of the RNA and protein alphabets. … evolutionary processes have given rise to the molecular alphabets from which higher-order life-forms are composed.
Humans are just as much a product of this as any other organisms, but this singular species has devised linguistic alphabets, without which human material and intellectual progress would be impossible.
And humans in turn will devise new completely artificial molecular alphabets for a vast range of uses. (([Ian Dunn, Molecular Alphabets, http://searchingmolsolutions.info/alphabets.htm, downloaded 01/05/2011]))

Definition of ‘Code’ – 1

A system of symbols, letters, or words transmitting (conveying) a message, information or instruction     ((  http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/code))

The definition of code is: a system used for brevity or secrecy of communication, in which arbitrarily chosen words, letters, or symbols are assigned definite meanings.
a system for communication by telegraph, heliograph, etc., in which long and short sounds, light flashes, etc., are used to symbolize the content of a message: e.g. Morse code.
a word, letter, number, or other symbol used in a code system to mark, represent, or identify something: e.g. The code on the label shows the date of manufacture. ((

a system of signals or symbols for communication: a system of symbols (as letters or numbers) used to represent assigned and often secret) meanings a set of instructions for a computer(([Encyclopaedia Britannica 2008 DVD ]))

A code is a mapping of one alphabet to another. (([Hubert Yockey home page in 2009, http://www.hubertpyockey.com/hpyblog/about/]))

Definition of ‘Code’ – 2

Coded information is  a system of symbols used by   an encoding and decoding mechanism, –which transmits a message that is   independent of the communication medium ((Perry Marshall, Information Theory and DNA http://cosmicfingerprints.com/iidb.htm))

Information as per Merriam-Webster Dictionary

  • the communication or reception of knowledge or intelligence
  • the attribute inherent in and communicated by one of two or more alternative sequences or arrangements of something that produce specific effects (as nucleotides in DNA or binary digits in a computer program)

Information according to Francis Crick, 1948:

By information I mean the specification of the amino acid sequence in protein. …Information means here the precise determination of sequence, either of bases in the nucleic acid or on amino acid residues of the protein.

A code is a rule for converting a piece of information (for example, a letter, word, phrase, or gesture) into another form or representation (one sign into another sign), not necessarily of the same type. In communications and information processing, encoding is the process by which information from a source is converted into symbols to be communicated. Decoding is the reverse process, converting these code symbols back into information understandable by a receiver(([Wikipedia 2009, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code]))

Claude Shannon was an American electronic engineer and mathematician, is “the father of information theory”. Shannon is famous for having founded information theory with a seminal book published in 1948. (([Wikipedia 2009]))

Information habitually arises from conscious activity. (([Henry Quastler, ex-radiologist, pioneer information theorist in biology, http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=17285015876&ref=share]))

Henry Quastler was an Austrian radiologist who was the first person to apply information theory to biology. At the time of his death in 1963, he was research biologist at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (([Innovation  Watch, http://www.innovationwatch.com/deepchange/books/bks_LC64-20932.html]))

Premise 1

All coded information comes from a mind

From the late 20th century, the widespread and virtually universal experience is engagement with coded information in our modern technological world.

Everywhere that we turn to in our daily lives, from operating electronic communication devices, driving motor vehicles, purchasing items, paying bills, or business transactions, we utilise technology that requires coded information.

Our consistent and uniform experience is that coded information always comes from an intelligent source with conscious, cognitive and intentional faculties.

  • Morse Code
  • Postcodes
  • Universal Product Code
  • QR (Quick Response) Code
  • ASCII  (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)

Premise 2

Base sequence of native DNA (or RNA) contains coded information

Since the discovery of the double helix of DNA by Crick and Watson in 1953 to complete sequencing of human genome (Human Genome Project) in 2003, to present day, the vast amount of complex information existing as coded information within native DNA is incontrovertible.

Premise 2 is well accepted and is uncontroversial.

Following the landmark paper by Watson and Crick in 1953, it has been commonplace in referring to the information in DNA as being synonymous with term, ‘genetic code.’
Both Watson and Crick have also subsequently used the term ‘code’ in this context.

That native DNA has coded information is well accepted and is uncontroversial.

((Richard Dawkins. The Blind Watchmaker. 1987. Accessed Sep 2008: http://macroevolution.narod.ru/dawkins_watchmaker/watchmaker.html))((Richard Dawkins image downloaded Jun 2009 from http://www.caledonian-comment.com/?p=2470))

Hubert Yockey is a nuclear physicist and information theorist. He worked under Robert Oppenheimer on the Manhattan Project, and at the University of California, Berkeley.

He has studied the application of information theory to problems in biology and published his conclusions in the Journal of Theoretical Biology from 1974 onwards.

He is very critical of the primordial soup theory of the origin of life, and believes that “the origin of life is unsolvable as a scientific problem”.(([Wikipedia 2009]))((Robert Oppenheimer (April 22, 1904 – February 18, 1967) was an American theoretical physicist and professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is best known for his role as the scientific director of the Manhattan Project. [Wikipedia 2009]))((The Manhattan Project was the codename for a project conducted during World War II, primarily by the United States, to develop the first atomic bomb. [Wikipedia 2009]))

DNA transcription ((downloaded from Wikipedia, Jan 2009: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0e/DNA_transcription.gif))

mRNA translation image ((downloaded and modified Jan 2009 from: http://www.nicksnowden.net/images/protein%20synthesis%20translation.jpg))

Hubert Yockey, ((Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life, Cambridge University Press, 2005 : Quoted by Perry Marshall, Information Theory and DNA, http://cosmicfingerprints.com/iidb.htm)) Isomorphic: corresponding: describes mathematical sets with a one-to-one correspondence so that an operation such as addition or multiplication in one produces the same result as the analogous operation in the other

Each nucleus, … as we shall see in Chapter 5, contains a digitally coded database larger, in information content, than all 30 volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica put together. And this figure is for each cell, not all the cells of a body put together.((Richard Dawkins. The Blind Watchmaker. 1987. Accessed Sep 2008: http://macroevolution.narod.ru/dawkins_watchmaker/watchmaker.html)) (( Richard Dawkins image downloaded Jun 2009 from http://www.caledonian-comment.com/?p=2470 ))

Methionine and Tryptophan are the only amino acids where there is no code redundancy. Tryptophan (Trp) is located in the 4th column

For mitochondria … AGA and AGG are terminators, UGA corresponds to Trp an AUA corresponds to Met (((Gautier, C. et al.: 1981, Nucleic AcM Sequences Handbook, Praeger, New York ;  quoted by L.F. Luo, Origins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere 18 (1988) 71-85)))

For more information on the determination of the influence of the 1st 2nd and 3rd codons on which amino acid is transcripted, see M.D. Perlwitz et al ,Pattern analysis of the genetic code, Advances In Applied Mathematics 1988; 9:7-21

Premises 1 & 2

  1. All codes come from a mind
  2. Base sequence of native DNA is a code

Conclusion from Premises

  1. All codes come from a mind
  2. Base sequence of native DNA is a code
  3. Therefore, base sequence of native DNA comes from a mind

If both premises are correct, then logically by deductive reasoning, the inescapable conclusion is that coded information in native DNA originated from a mind.


If the base sequence of native DNA comes from a mind, there are 2 possibilities:

  1. Alien mind (i.e. origin cannot be accounted from human source). This has been previously proposed by Francis Crick. However, this only moves the problem back one step in causal chain to another planet or galaxy. An alien would also require genetic information to exist.

2. A transcendent immaterial mind.

  • A transcendent immaterial mind because coded information in DNA (or RNA) is beyond the productive capacity of natural material causes to firstly, produce such information and secondly, it is incapable of doing so within the time-frame of 2-3 billion years to account for what is observed in native genomes.
  • The attributes of this transcendent immaterial mind are that it is:
  1. Personal because consciousness, cognition, intentionality and libertarian free-will are required to develop a coded information

2.  Vastly intelligent because a high level of knowledge is required to assemble the correct sequence of bases, to create, maintain and propagate life (certainly more intelligent than us humans). This requires highly detailed knowledge of genetics, epigenetics, biochemistry and physiology.

These attributes are entirely consistent with the God of theism.


About the Author


A sage from the East?

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