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The Central Dogma: From Dogma to Doo-Doo

bruce8.30

In 1958, Francis Crick, co-founder with James Watson of the DNA genetic code, defined the concept referred to as The Central Dogma. This dogma described how the organizing information in biology represented a one-way flow from DNA > RNA > Protein.

The Central Dogma provided the foundation for the principle of Genetic Determinism, the belief that genes “determine” the character and quality of our lives. While I taught this concept to medical students for over a decade, it was only after I left academia that I looked-up the definition of Dogma: A belief based on religious persuasion and not scientific fact. At that moment I realized I had been teaching religion in medical school.

When confronted with the real definition of dogma, Crick responded, “I used the word the way I myself thought about it, not as most of the world does, and simply applied it to a grand hypothesis that, however plausible, had little direct experimental support."

The main point is that The Central Dogma, a hypothesis that was never tested, has been repeated so consistently over the last 60 years that people have bought it to be a scientific fact. This dogma has always been an unverified “suggestion.”

As far as we know, we didn’t pick the genes we came with; we can’t change the genes if we don’t like their character; and we are also told that genes “turn on and off” on their own. The public has come to the obvious conclusion that they are victims of their heredity. (An important fact to consider is that less than 1% of disease is caused by genes. Cancer, cardiac disease, diabetes, [fill the blank], are primarily the consequence of lifestyle, consciousness, and environment).

The first crack in The Central Dogma was introduced by Harold Temin, who was studying the HIV virus in 1969. He found that in addition to the virus’s programming messenger RNA, the virus also contained the information to create a special protein enzyme, Reverse Transcriptase. This enzyme copies the viral RNA and inserts a DNA version of that message into the cell’s genome as a new gene. The Central Dogma was challenged by the fact that RNA can flow back into and change the chromosomal DNA.

My own pioneering research on cloned stem cells revealed that the environment, via the chromosome’s proteins, controls gene activity. This insight is the foundation of the new science of Epigenetics. The prefix epi means “above.” Consequently, epigenetic-control of genes simply translates as “control” ABOVE the genes.” That “control” is represented by signals from the environment. The Environment Controls Genes. For example, an amoeba in a pond continually adjusts it genetic activity in response to the information from the surrounding environment.

To survive, the ~50 trillion cells that comprise our body must also adjust their genetics to accommodate environmental signals. HOWEVER, the body’s cells contained within the environment under the skin are disconnected from the outer surrounding environment. Within the body, cells live in a fluid environment created by the blood. Yet, our body’s cells must adjust their behavior and genetics to accommodate the environment outside of the body.

One of the primary functions of the nervous system is to “read” external environmental signals and inform the internal cell community to the demands of the external world. While the nervous system in humans perceives the environmental signals, it is the Mind that interprets those signals. In response, the brain releases chemicals (hormones, emotional chemicals, growth factors, etc.) that complement the mind’s interpretation of the environment’s signals. These neural chemicals, when released into the cell’s blood environment, control the behavior and genetics of the body’s cells to support our survival and vitality.

The most important insight is that the perceptions of the mind control genetic activity and our health. Two people in the exact same environment, but with different perceptions about life, will express totally different physiological consequences to the same environmental signals. Most importantly, the environmental information, translated by the cell’s proteins flows back into the DNA. This completely undermines Crick’s “dogma,” while simultaneously revealing that we are not VICTIMS of our heredity, but in fact, are MASTERS of our genetics.

Mind-Body relationships are not the consequence of “New-Age” wishful thinking, but in fact, are an expression of hard science. Be conscious of your thoughts … because your life depends upon them!

Wishing YOU … health, happiness, and harmony,

Bruce




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