Comparison of a single-stranded RNA and a doub...

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When studying epigenetics, one can’t help see the similarity between life and computers. Computers are binary machines but could be any base system. They rely on switches to remember states and activate circuits that do things. As the complexity of computers grew, humans invented higher level programming languages to program them without dealing with all the complexity. Life is based on a memory system of DNA (or RNA in earlier life forms). As the DNA grew in complexity, epigenetics programmed it to do different things at different times. Think of all the different types of cells in a human. We have heart cells, liver cells, skin cells, muscle cells etc. As we look at each of these they are the same! Each cell has a nucleus with an identical copy of our DNA. Different types of cells have turned on some DNA that is not turned on in other types of cells. Epigenetics also turns off other pieces of DNA (genes) that may be on in different types of cells. This programming of what is turned on (activated) and what is turned off is what distinguishes each type of cell. On top of that epigenetics switches other pieces of DNA ON/OFF based on what we eat, the level of stress we are having, how we think and of course toxins in our environment. This complex programming makes identical twins (with exact copies of DNA) different from each other. It causes illness and death in some and longevity in others. We are nature’s laboratories. Each of us has different conditions that cause us to be unique individuals. Nature is trying to find the best path through our environment that will yield the highest probability that our DNA will be successfully passed on to new generations. It is all about survival in an unknown and changing environment not about the individual! We are programmed.

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