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From the Genetic Code to Collective Brains

  • Andrew Y. GliksonEmail author
Chapter
  • 186 Downloads

Abstract

In physical terms life constitutes a complex carbon-based system which replicates information, departs from thermodynamic equilibrium through the use of chemical metabolism, and undergoes variation and selection. Living things tend to be complex and highly organized, have an ability to acquire energy from the environment and transform it for growth and reproduction, tending toward homeostasis, response, stimulation, reaction, recoiling, learning, reproduction, growth and development. A phylogenetic scheme is based upon ribosomal RNA sequence which shows living systems belong to one of three classes: (A) the eubacteria, comprising all typical bacteria; (B) the archaebacteria, containing methanogenic bacteria; and (C) the Eukaryotes, comprising cytoplasmic components within eukaryotic cells from which species and kingdoms evolved. Evolving cell network emerge as output of a cellular computing network, inducing changes in structure of the network itself through changes in the DNA activity patterns. In an “RNA world” self-replication is reached by combination of the nucleotides adenine, uracil, guanine and cytosine, forming templates for synthesis of new strands of RNA. Early cells formed by enclosure of self-replicating RNA in membrane composed of phospholipids, the basic components of biological membranes of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. The DNA of Eukaryote cells may contain 0.6–5.0 × 106 base pairs, capable of encoding about 5000 different proteins. Given the distinct structure and composition of the cell and computer chips, both possessing high processing power and natural and artificial intelligence, respectively, the design of artificial intelligence offers insights into some of the processes taking place in natural systems. The exploration of the deep hot biosphere located in oceanic hydrothermal energy sources, or within fractures in deep seated rocks, isolated from the influence of the sun and photosynthesis, has opened new windows in the search for early evolution of life. The development of colonies consisting of specialized cells signifies emergence of inter-cellular communications and coordination, implying each cell possess information regarding what the other cells are doing—a quantum leap toward evolution of complex multi-task organisms.

Keywords

DNA RNA Phylogenetic Prokaryotes Eukaryotes 

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research School of Earth ScienceAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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