We are living beings that are no more than chemical formulae intertwined in an astounding tandem play – so much in sync that we call it life. The basic unit that carries what we are and who we are is a chemical complex called the DNA. This is nature’s data packet and carries the programming required to determine everything from the colour of one’s hair to the savage tendencies of a killer. We are continually discovering how prolific and perfect this chemical code’s role is. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to the “God particle” within us.
Communicating between generations
Procreation is a purpose of life – though for what is not always clear – the DNA is the canister that carries not just the basic code of a living being, but also transfers the characteristics and features that ensure survival. Instead of a basic building block that adapts as it is born, the DNA acts as an evolving chemical code that inherits the knowledge from one’s ancestors and carries it forward, ever-learning and ever-evolving. As human beings have adapted from a wild and open lifestyle, facial and body hair are a lot less necessary to survive – unless it’s Movember. We slowly started to lose hair until babies were born with a code for little to no body/facial hair instead of adapting to it later in life.
It’s not clear if children being born adapted for a sedentary life style is entirely a positive evolution, but we nevertheless are always evolving. With every generation, the adaptation is carried over and further evolves to the niche we live in.
Warning: This video can get boring – but it will serve if one ever needs a quick brush up in genetics.
Communicating between human beings
The DNA strands also seem to communicate from one being to another. There are several studies that prove that attraction and repulsion between human beings are based on chemical reactions. The DNA decides what chemicals need to be created in the body – in this case, pheromones.
“Once we get genes for psychopathology, we’ll get genes for personality” and vice versa, says Robert Plomin, PhD, deputy director of the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre in the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College, London.
Source: American Psychological Association
Communicating with other beings
Now this is where it goes to the weird science section – the DNA that determines how our pheromones should activate is also the entity that decides how our other hormones should be. Animals like dogs and cats too have been a part of our social system long enough to interact with us even without non-verbal communication. Dogs respond to certain people the moment they get a sniff of them. The smell of a person comes from the sweat glands, especially in the underarms, which is determined by the gene ABCC11 in the DNA.
In a human family of dog lovers, the child born into that family automatically has a liking towards dogs. It so happens dogs too seem to respond to that child more warmly than they do to children born in cat-loving families. The DNA figures out a way to communicate intra-species – or at least it kick-starts the communication. The Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging (VETSA) is a project that stands testimony to it – already reported in several digital media channels.
Communicating with everything
There’s one more step to push that thought further – the DNA also controls and decides how the human body communicates with non-living things. A popular example would be lactose intolerance, or sensitivity to quinine. The science of precious and semi-precious stones influencing health and mental well-being denotes that certain people react to certain stones better. For those who do not believe in that – allergies to certain metals is a proven dermatological condition.
The DNA communicates through chemical signals that we barely have understood, let alone measured. To think that the DNA is a unit that is passes through all living beings and to visualize them as nodes inter-connected to all other DNA of living beings and things around us is positively wondrous.
Too wondrous that I am almost tempted to ask, “Is this the God within us?”