14.46, Friday 14 Jan 2011

Video visualisations of DNA, at the molecular level. See: DNA coiling into chromosomes, DNA replication, transcription into RNA, the reading of RNA instructions to assemble amino acid building blocks into a protein. Decently explained. I get a buzzy sense of vertigo to see how we go from the information of the genetic code all the way to proteins. (Proteins are the building blocks of life. They're transformers and logical signal processors: they react chemicals to make other chemicals, and can be switched on and off. So in that sense they're super smart transistors, networking together to make an information processing system that also channels flows of matter and energy. And proteins are also mechanical. They can provide rigidity, and actuation in muscles. It's as if the metal surface of your computer was made the same stuff as the silicon chip, and it could ripple itself to move around your desk.)