The Genome Delusion
Going Cold Turkey – Reading A New Recipe Book
Christmas has come and gone while the turkey is more than stuffed – only a very skilled Vet could resurrect it. But have you ever thought how some became a bird on the wing, while some became a bird on the walk – oh flightless one? Well, I hadn’t given it much thought until Santa dropped a book in my stocking – a thought provoking and myth busting tome by Rupert Sheldrake, entitled: The Science Delusion. (I also received a book on the History of Shipbuilding, which was even more riveting).
Strictly Come X-Factor On Ice – An Alternative
Anyway, back to the musings of Rupert. His book proved a great read and I was truly welded to my chair, while page turning to avoid Strictly Come Bake Off with Mary Poppins on Ice airing at prime time (yet again) on BBC. By Chapter 6 Rupert had laid bare some Holy Grails, and was asking: Is All Biological Inheritance, Material. Quite a question, as he tripped gently on those grandly funded cluster mines of genomics and the materialistic, reductionist, model of biology. His previous Chapters had poked at the physical ‘material only’ model of science which ignores ‘morphic resonance’ – that invisible field which guides genes to express cells, but collectively, in a whole body, finished form. The genes of our arm cell are no different to the genes in our leg cells, except of course one limb is shaped liked an arm and one is shaped like a leg – that’s morphic resonance for you. The unseen radio station of Nature, like a ‘future form’ magnet helps each cell to know its’ true place in the whole body. This matters not only to some of us (if there is nothing on BBC) but to all, as it re-writes the material ‘rules’ and reduces genes to often mere bit part players, on the less visible, stage of life.
After the discovery of DNA in 1953 it seemed as if final biological frontiers would be unlocked by de-coding the human genome – so delivering a healthy and long life for all. A sort of Father Christmas of Wellness bestowing free gifts forever, on to humanity. Fast forward nearly four decades as in 1990, armed with £3 billion of funding, the Human Genome project finally kicked off for the ultimate in a public private partnership voyage of discovery. The project was accompanied by many a futuristic claim for the biological bounty it would unleash for all. However, in 2000 when the results were in, they appeared more of a damp cheap sparkler than an expensive rocket ship to the stars. When the rubbing was done and the genie popped out of the bottle it was far smaller than expected, oh dear, £3 billion… At just 23,000 genes a human it turned out, has less than a quarter of the 100,000 genes that had previously been touted, by experts. But at least we were ahead of the fruit fly at 17,000 genes (phew), but let’s hold our smugness as we have 3,000 less genes than a sea urchin. Across the road in Chinatown, the not so humble take away gains more respect with rice packing in a highly edible 38,000 genes in just a single grain. For once, the ‘experts’ were wrong in their well funded, but poorly founded, assumptions M’Lud.
Nature Fesses Up
In the modern world we ever more rapidly forget what was revered in previous Centuries. Some scientific truths are suddenly dismissed as self evidently daft and silently reviled – it’s how we learn. Yet, our digital age has us living those learning experiences in a mere ten years nowadays, when pre internet, similar such lessons would have required 100 years. Once upon a time open sewers were the hot Public Health Policy of their day – but with a third of the population succumbing to The Plague, that policy lacked a fairy tale ending. In 2010, seven Centuries on from street latrines, Nature featured an article entitled: A Reality Check For Personalised Medicine bemoaning that despite an expenditure of $100 billion, geneticists had found ‘only a very limited genetic basis for human disease’. Dr Jonathan Latham, director of Bioscience Resource Project (and clearly off the Christmas card list of most of his colleagues) phrased it well: the most likely explanation of why genes for common disease have not been found is that, with few exceptions, they do not exist… the likelihood that further searching might rescue the day appears slim. A much better use of the money would be to ask: if inherited genes are not to blame for our commonest illnesses, can we find out what is*?’.
Protein’s Shake It Up
With 200,000 proteins in the human body, it is our ‘body building proteins’ that usually turn off gene expression. More than ever we need to investigate the guiding ‘radio signal’ of morphic resonance which by aligning genes and proteins defines intergenerational, cultural and trait ‘memory’ of all living beings. Likely, Sherlock, good genes really can’t outrun a poor diet (and fags?) after all. Perhaps we have been stuck for far too long on the materialistic ‘bits’ of biology. We’ve trundled along a scenic, but usually dead end B road while ignoring the motorway network which we’ve been too unwilling to view, as a whole. Not to be distracted, our bodily collaborators just carry on with their orchestra of life – bypassing the noisy wind section of our genes which have certainly over-played their hand, while blowing hot air.
PS, * in answer to Dr Latham regarding commonest ‘illness’ causes – how about these for starters, main and pudding:
- High sugar diets: with 600,000 US obesity triggered new cancer sufferers during 2017
- Iatrogenic death (caused by multiple medications) being the 3rd leading cause of US deaths
- Disease mongering finding ‘non-illnesses’ – while Switzerland halted new breast screening programmes in 2014
Wishing You All a Happy and Healthy New Year.