The Deeper Meaning of DNA
Throughout the day there are many things we do without even thinking about them. However, when taking a closer look at them they prove to be a source of fascination and astonishment. This at least reflects my experience when I studied the physiology of automatic processes and reflexes such as walking, moving and breathing. Another very fascinating thing is communication, the act of talking and understanding. I mean, think about it: the very words you are reading, are in fact nothing more than just black dots on a white background! When writing words on a paper it is nothing more than just drawing some lines top to bottom, left to right…
So then, how is it possible, that apparently some black dots and lines, which obviously in themselves have no meaning, are readable and can be understood? The answer to this is because there is a mind behind these words that gives them meaning. It is because I have been taught that the word “dog” is this animal with four legs. It is because when I think of an animal that lives in Africa, which is very tall and has a very long neck I connect this image with the word “giraffe”.
This process can be referred to as coding. A thought is coded into a certain word in a certain language. It is the transformation of a thought that uses something meaningless, such as black dots, to turn it into something meaningful and convey a certain message.
This is only the first part however! Because of what use is it if I can write and talk, but I am the only person in the world that masters this language?! Just as words are coded and given meaning, the recipient of these words needs to be able to decode them! As such, he needs to see a word, and needs to “unfold” the meaning that the giver has “folded”. This of course only works if both the giver and the receiver use the same key for coding and decoding. For example, there are books in Hindi in which the author skilfully expressed his thoughts and “folded” or coded his thoughts into certain words and sentences. However, when I see his great work and the words which convey meaning and a certain message, there is no way I can “unfold” these words and decode them! To me they seem just like black dots and lines! I assume they have a meaning because I see that the letters were carefully drawn by human hand and have not just formed randomly, but without the right key I have no way to unlock these words.
Now let’s take a look at the DNA and transfer what we have just discovered.
DNA is an abbreviation for deoxyribonnucleicacid, which describes its chemical structure. You probably have seen its spiral cylindrical structure in many pictures, which is called an “α-helix” structure. Now, in its chemical structure the DNA contains four different bases, namely: Adenosine (A), Guanine (G), Thymine (T) and Cytosine (C). These bases represent the “letters” with which the code of life is “encoded”. The DNA is a long strand consisting of a continuation of these four letters. It looks something like this: ATTACGTCGACGATTAA…
These four letters are used to form “words” and “sentences” that form the code of life. From the largest animal to the smallest cell, every living creature in this world contains the code of life! But how is it possible that chemical bases, which obviously in themselves have no meaning, can convey a message that is even a message unto life?! Just as it is with any other message, this message must also have been folded and unfolded, coded and decoded!
Let’s take a look at the decoding process:
The decoding process is a process known as “translation”. It is called “translation” because it is the translation (decoding) of the DNA code into proteins. However, before the process of translation can start a copy from the original DNA is made. DNA is transcribed into a messenger RNA (mRNA) by a process known as “transcription”. Instead of Thymine (T) RNA uses Uracil (U). But except of using one different base and some chemical differences we can think of mRNA as a copy that contains exactly the same code as the DNA.
Once this copy is formed, a big factory starts to form, called a “ribosome” which is formed by a large and a small subunit. This factory works as an “assembly line”. As the mRNA is pulled through the ribosome, the mRNA is decoded. The mRNA code is matched with a special “anticodon”. This anticodon is found on a molecule called the tRNA. Depending on the anticodon that the tRNA carries it is coupled by enzymes with an amino acid, specific to its anticodon. Amino acids are the smallest building blocks for proteins. And proteins on the other hand are essential to life. Proteins give structure, they can transport material, they can act as signals or as receptors, they can form pumps, motors and so on…
Every single tRNA with its anticodon matches three bases of the mRNA. Therefore the code of the DNA/mRNA is also known as a “triplet code”. Each tRNA therefore translates three letters into one specific amino acid. As the mRNA is pulled through the assembly line, the codon of the mRNA is connected with the correct anticodon of a specific tRNA which holds one amino acid, specific to its anticodon. The tRNA then transfers its amino acid to the chain of amino acids that have been formed anteriorly and then disconnects to give space for the next three letters to be matched by the next fitting tRNA.
In this way a long chain of amino acids is formed which is then three-dimensionally folded to form a protein. The speed at which this complex assembly line forms a chain of amino acids can be up to 40 amino acids a second! Since one amino acid is decoded from three letters it can read up to 120 letters a second! Isn’t that impressive?! The process from copying the DNA till the folding of the protein is known as protein synthesis.
If we compare a base in the DNA to a letter, we can say that three letters comprise a word which codes for one amino acid. A sentence, consisting of several words would then code a protein. Proteins can vary in length from the largest protein in our body, Titin, consisting of ~27,000 amino acids to smaller proteins like Insulin with 51 amino acids.
Scientists were able to learn and understand the language that the DNA uses because they were able to witness in their laboratories the process of decoding. They could observe the process of translation and learn how this process unfolded/decoded the message which the code of life conveys and by doing so turn something meaningless into something meaningful. They saw how an order of bases in the DNA, meaningless by themselves, turned into something remarkable as proteins, which enable us to move, to hear, to see, to talk, to think… Based on the observation that three bases code for one amino acid they came up with a scheme that shows how the mRNA/DNA is decoded. This scheme illustrates the “genetic code” and is read from the inside out to show which triplet code codes which amino acid.
We have just taken a look at this highly complex process of translation which constitutes the decoding/unfolding part of the message. But probably just like me you are asking yourself: Where did the decoding key come from? How is it, that for the code AAC the amino acid Asparagine (ASN) is used and not i.e. Histidine (HIS)? Where do the tRNA molecules come from and where do te enzymes come from that connect a specific tRNA to a specific amino acid? Guess what: both the tRNA and the enzymes come from the DNA! The tRNA is transcribed from the DNA which then includes the anticodon. And the enzymes that connect the right amino acid to the tRNA carrying the right anticodon is a protein that is produced just as any other protein!
Here we have this highly complex molecule that was discovered by Watson and Crick just 63 years ago, called “DNA”. A molecule that contains chemical bases in a certain sequence to convey a message. The code of life. Even more so, it is a message that contains the key to decode its own meaning! How fascinating is that?!
Let us sum up what we have learned so far:
When we communicate we code our thoughts into something that by itself has no meaning. It might be i.e. black dots or lines, smoke or light. However, they don’t stay black dots, lines, smoke or light. They become words, sentences, smoke signals and light signals. This is the case, because there is a mind behind these black dots and lines that gives them their meaning. And in order to unfold the meaning, both the receiver and the giver have to possess the same key.
At the same time we have this fascinating molecule called DNA. It is also known as the “Molecule of Life” because it holds the “code of life”. The DNA uses four chemical bases which are used as letters to convey the message, yet by themselves, in a different setting or location, have no meaning.
The DNA is decoded by a process known as “translation”. Through this process proteins are formed. For this process an mRNA (a copy of the DNA), a ribosome, tRNA, amino acids and energy in form of ATP is needed. The code of life even includes its own key for decoding since tRNA and the enzymes that connect the right tRNA to the right amino acid are derived form the DNA.
The common view held by science today is that a simple genetic code formed by chance at the origin of life. Even though the idea is that first RNA formed, because it is slightly less complex form in its chemical structure, we can refer to it just as well as a “genetic code”. After its supposed formation natural selection is assumed to have continued to refine the genetic code and expand it. Yet, how is a “simple” genetic code defined? How many proteins would the genetic code have to encode in order to turn chemical molecules into life?
Viruses are organisms that are on the edge of life. They do not posses the ability to reproduce; in contrast to i.e. bacteria. Because they lack some essential components for replication, such as ribosomes, they need a host cell in order to reproduce and form new viruses. Here is the virus with the smallest genome size known to man: the hepatitis B virus. It has a genome size of 3.2 kb (kilobase). These are 3200 bases! 3200 bases without even possessing the ability to replicate its own genome by itself!
Early on I realized, that though there might be a chance for such a genetic code to form by chance, it must have been extremely slim.
However, it was until I took a closer look at the things we usually do without even thinking about that I saw something amazing! A message really just becomes a message because there is a mind behind it. A mind that makes something meaningful out of something meaningless. That was when I realized that the current understanding of the origin of the DNA is fundamentally flawed. It is impossible that a message that even contains its own key for decoding could have just jumped into existence! Just as with any other message that uses things, which in themselves have no meaning, there must also be a mind behind this message. Even more so with the DNA, which is all the more complex than just a simple book of words!
While humanity is searching for extraterrestrial life, looking for the same signs of intelligence that we just saw, they are looking towards the wrong direction. Maybe, we should not so much look at outer space to see weather hints for extraterrestrial intelligence can be found, but maybe we should rather look at our inside! Maybe we should look at us, look at our genetic code!
And get this: isn’t it astonishing that in the light of the principles of communication mentioned earlier, all life carries a message in the same language?! Wound’t it make perfect sense that if there was a designer behind the code of life he would use the same code, the same language for every form of life?
From colorful flowers to large trees, from plankton in the oceans to lions on the land, from slow, watchful chameleons to fast and agile cheetahs, from unicellular organisms to us – human beings! All of them have a code inscribed in the same language! All of them hold the handwriting of one, who is truly supreme!
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world.” Psalm 19:1-4
 W. H. Freeman, ”Protein Synthesis Requires the Translation of Nucleotide Sequences Into Amino Acid Sequences”, Bioche-mistry 5th edition, accessed October 16th, 2016, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK22421/
[2| Sela BA, “Titin: Some aspect of the largest protein in the body”, accessed October 16th, 2016, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12187564
 Drug Information Portal, “Insulin Human”, accessed October 16th, 2016, https://druginfo.nlm.nih.gov/drugportal/rn/11061-68-0
 “How could DNA have evolved?”, Evolution FAQ, accessed October 17th, 2016, http://evolutionfaq.com/faq/how-could-dna-have-evolved
NPR, ”Scientists Looking For Alien Life Investigate ‚Interesting‘ Signal From Space”, accessed October 17th, 2016, http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/08/30/491924071/scientists-looking-for-alien-life-investigate-interesting-signal- from-space
For further information, I recommend this 8 part series by Prof. Dr. Walter Veith. Walter Veith was a strong proponent of the theory of evolution until he realized that this theory has some very profound problems that are usually left aside. In this video he addresses the issues of “spontaneous formation of life” and shows how genetics has brought a new understanding of life that just 100 years ago would have been unimaginable: https://youtu.be/XaE3MIRcrGw?list=PLMYd9X6UIkjIZl-0SpMnXzhDisgbzHpNj