COSMIC SECRETS, PART 4

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This page represents an expansion of the "Cosmic Secrets 3" page of this website. Whereas the "Invisible Life" page of this website surveyed the secret of life at the unicellular level and whereas the "Cosmic Secrets 3" page of this website probed the secret of life, in general, and the secret of human life, in particular, both at its microscopic and macroscopic levels, this page takes the probe of life to an even deeper level. This page probes the secret of life at its molecular level. This page seeks to impart a deeper understanding—and appreciation—of life.

What is genomics? | Genome Quebec

Photo Credit: What Is Genomics? | Genome Quebec



Safety Technology | Safercar.gov | National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

Photo Credit: Safety Technology | Safercar.gov | National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)



Watch (What is Genomics - Full Length)



Watch (The Human Genome)

The human organism—or any organism—and its inner workings can be viewed as being not too different from, say, a motor vehicle and its inner working. The whole of a motor vehicle comprises an interwoven web of systems and interlocking parts. These systems include:

These motor vehicle parts and systems are assembled in such a way so as to yield a fully functional motor vehicle.

The human organism—or any living thing—also, comprises an interwoven web of systems and interlocking parts. In the case of humans, these systems include:

Like the motor vehicle, these human parts and systems are organized in a very sophisticated and coordinated way. This sophisticated and coordinated organization yields a fully functional organism who looks somewhat like you.

Genes pass instructions to an organism about what, when, and how to do something. Genes sometimes make mistakes by issuing incorrect instructions. As of 2017, one of the hottest topics in genomic research is the topic of gene editing. Scientists particularly are ecstatic about the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technique. The CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technique was pioneered by professors Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier. CRISPR/Cas9 is a novel technique to correct the erroneous instructions issued by genes.

Watch (2015 Breakthrough Prize: Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier)



How does gene therapy work?

Photo Credit: How does gene therapy work? - Genetics Home Reference



Watch (What is CRISPR-Cas?)



Chromosome Abnormalities

Photo Credit: Chromosome Abnormalities Fact Sheet - National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)



A SUPER MICRO VIEW OF LIFE

The molecular view of life requires an examination of how the cell and its components such as chromosomes, DNA, and genes work together. The following bloc of videos provides a brief overview of the cell and its chromosomes, DNA, and genes. These videos illustrate how the cell, chromosomes, DNA, and genes constitute the basic drivers or factories of life.

Watch (Cell Signals)



Watch (Inside the Living Cell: How Cells Obtain Energy)




Watch (What is a Chromosome?)



Watch (What Is DNA and How Does It Work?)



Watch (What Is a Gene?)



Watch (Genes vs. DNA vs. Chromosomes - Instant Egghead #19)



FROM GENES TO GENOMICS, GENE THERAPY, AND GENETIC ENGINEERING: HOPE AND FEAR

The U.S. National Library of Medicine defines a genome as "an organism's complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. Each genome contains all of the information needed to build and maintain that organism. In humans, a copy of the entire genome—more than 3 billion DNA base pairs—is contained in all cells that have a nucleus."

A Brief Guide to Genomics

Photo Credit: A Brief Guide to Genomics - National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)



Interactions between Arabidopsis proteins

Photo Credit: Interactions between Arabidopsis proteins



How Does the Human Genome Stack Up?

Photo Credit: How Does the Human Genome Stack Up?



Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA)

Photo Credit: Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) Fact Sheet - National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)

With knowledge comes power—namely, the power to choose wisely. Deciphering the genetic code of life is a relatively new but powerful development in human history. The human genome project was not completed until the year 2003. By charting the human genome, scientists have begun to unravel the minute details of what makes organisms tick. Understanding the genetic code of life gives scientists the knowledge to detect, diagnose, treat, and ultimately prevent a variety genetic-related ailments and maladies.

What does all of this talk about genomics mean? From a sociological perspective, genomics means addressing issues such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) versus non-GMOs types of issues where natural selection is supplanted by artificial selection. From a theological perspective, genomics means addressing the issues of humans playing God or humans improving upon what is believed the living works of a perfect God. From an ethical perspective, genomics means addressing issues such as the supremacy of artificially designed living things over naturally designed living things. From a legal perspective, genomics means addressing issues such as privacy and discriminatory genetic profiling where those with so-called good genes would be treated more favorably than those with so-called bad genes. From a philosophical perspective, genomics means addressing the issue of artificially breeding living species or transforming existing living species into wholly different species.

In a sentence, as of 2017, present-day scientific and technological advancements in the field of genomics represent both hope and fear. Humans of today have reached the precipice of realizing Heaven or Hell on Earth. They can attain a state of Heaven on Earth if the choose wisely. Alternatively, they can attain a state of Hell on Earth if they choose foolishly.

The Hope (Heaven on Earth)

On the one hand, all kinds of beneficial applications can be derived from genetic research. In the field of medicine alone, this hopeful potential includes producing an array of products to detect, treat, and prevent birth defects, physical and psychological ailments, and diseases.

The Fear (Hell on Earth)

On the other hand, the study of genomics just as well can lead to the all kinds of detrimental developments. The fear is that, despite its novel and good-natured beginning, genomics, one day, very easily could spiral out of control in the worst possible ways. The fear is that advances in the study of genomics very quickly could lead humans down a slippery slope of doom or extinction. That is to say, given the competition among humans for resources, mates, social status, material possessions, and so forth, in a quest to gain an advantage or edge on the competition, it is inevitable that some humans will resort to gene editing to make themselves smarter, faster, stronger, and better than their human counterparts. In the quest to become smarter, faster, stronger, and better, some fear that super humans will begin to emerge of Earth. Some fear that the human species will cease to exist in its homo sapiens sapiens form. Some fear that humans would end up morphing into some sort of different species. At its worse, some fear that the rise of Adolf Hitler-like eugenics might take hold on Earth with the so-called superior humans endeavoring to exterminate the so-called inferior humans.

From another perspective, much like the Biblical story of Adam, Eve, and the forbidden fruit, in genomics, some fear that humans will not be able resist the temptation of vanity. Gene editing technology possesses the potential and promise of allowing all humans to be uniquely yet equally beautiful, strong, fast, smart, and so forth. Already there is much discussion and debate about designer babies. Given continued advancements in genomics, imagine what will happen to the human species if an offshoot vanity genetic-editing industry emerged. Some humans deliberately would be choosing to use genetic editing exclusively for vanity purposes alone. These humans would begin manifesting all kinds of artificially designed physical characteristics and personality traits.

Watch [Adam and Eve (Genesis 2-3)]



Watch (The Future Of Genetics)



Watch (What Is Gene Therapy?)



Watch (Genetic Engineering Will Change Everything Forever CRISPR)



Human Chromosomes

Photo Credit: Human Chromosomes



What is a gene?

Photo Credit: What is a gene?



MOVING FROM A MICRO TO A MACRO VIEW OF LIFE

The following bloc of videos scales up to a macro view of life. These videos depict how life forms interact and behave on spaceship Earth.

Watch (Properties of Life, Part 1 of 2, from Thinkwell Biology)



Watch (Properties of Life, Part 2 of 2, from Thinkwell Biology)



Watch (Classifying Life)



Watch (Interactions of Living Things in an Ecosystem)

What is a story moral to be gleaned from this video exposition of life at its molecular level? One moral of the story is this: In order for an automobile to provide years and years of consistent and dependable service to its owner, the automobile requires routine and preventative maintenance. Likewise, in order for you to live a long and healthy life, your body requires routine and proactive maintenance. A common and universal goal of humans is to live long, healthy, happy, secure, and prosperous lives. If you take good care of your body, then your body is likely to sustain you. When you take good care of your body, and with all other things being equal such as not becoming a victim of a fatal accident, not becoming a victim of a natural disaster, or not inheriting a debilitating genetic disorder, then there is a much greater chance that you will be rewarded with a long and healthy life span.

Another moral of the story is this: Humans can think, understand, and rationalize. A rational human would choose survival over extinction. What does it take for the human species to survive, endure, and prosper? As I mentioned on the "Education for All," "Life Choices," and "Progress" pages of this website, there are individual challenges and societal challenges that humans must overcome. At the individual level, these challenges include:

At the societal level, these challenges include a host of problems that humans must overcome. These problems include:

Whether at the individual or societal level, when addressing these challenges, the journey truly does begin with the person standing in front of the mirror, which would be you.



FUTURE OF THE HUMAN SPECIES

A final moral is this: With the advent of high science, high technology, international business, global government, big data processing, artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, nano probes, interstellar space probes, atom smashing, and so forth, humans really do need to proceed into the future with an overabundance of caution. Humans now possess the knowledge and the ability to play God. If humans do not harness their ever-increasing scientific and technological savvy wisely, then the outcome very well can turn out to be a future of Hell instead of a future of Heaven on Earth for the living. The outcome very well could turn out to be human extinction. Humans must choose their path into the future wisely.

Speaking of high science and high technology, the following videos represent some recent trends and developments. For instance, how does DNA mapping work? How are scientists able to determine whether a particular unknown strand of DNA matches your genetical profile or someone else's genetical profile? The following video illustrates how DNA fingerprinting is done. DNA fingerprinting, of course, is an improvement upon an older human identification technology known as fingerprint matching.

Watch (DNA Matching)



Watch (How Does an Atom-Smashing Particle Accelerator Work? - Don Lincoln)



Watch (Brian Cox talking about the Higgs Boson on BBC This Week)



Watch (Michio Kaku Explains String Theory)



Read ('The Night I Invented 3D Printing')



Watch (China Unveils Its First 3-D Bio Printer)

With respect to humans choosing wisely, a case in point would be the advent of three-dimensional or 3D printing. When Charles Hull invented 3D printing during the early 1980's, one of his original goals was little more than to revolutionize the way in which prototype plastic parts were made. As of 2014, all kinds of uses are emerging for 3D printing. 3D printing is being used to produce household products, medical products, guns and bullets, human tissue and organs, automotive parts, and so forth.

Concerning the matter of humans using science and technology wisely, it can be argued that the use of 3D printing to produce guns and bullets is a bad or unwise thing. It is a bad thing only in the sense that this development presents a new venue for the criminally minded and for mentally unstable members of society to get easy access to another instrument of murder, which has nothing at all to do with those gun enthusiasts and hobbyists who would never harm anyone with their 3D guns. Regrettably to say, on the one hand, there are those in society who would turn the 3D printer into a tool of murder. On the other hand, it also can be argued that using 3D printing to produce humans tissue and organs is a good thing in the sense that the implanted tissue or organ is expected to vastly improve the health and extend the life span of the infirm. In the case of 3D guns, 3D bullets, and murder, it would be equivalent to humans using 3D printing technology to take lives. In the case of 3D tissue, 3D organs, and medicine, it would be equivalent to humans using 3D printing technology to save lives.

When 3D printers become as popular and prevalent as inkjet and laserjet printers, how will you choose to use your 3D printer? Will you be using your 3D printer in a responsible or irresponsible manner? Will you be using your 3D printer in a thoughtful or careless manner? I do not think Charles Hull envisioned that citizens would be using his invention to print 3D guns and 3D bullets or that citizens would be walking around with 3D-printed guns and murdering their fellow humans with them. Such a 3D-guns-for-murder scenario is possible when science and technology are misused or misapplied for more devious purposes.

In closing this genome discussion, the following extract of GOLD data provides a handy overview of global genome sequencing projects and global genome sequencing progress.




Count Project Name Project Type Project Status Sequencing Status Sequencing Centers Domain Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus Species
Loading data from server
Count Project Name Project Type Project Status Sequencing Status Sequencing Centers Domain Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus Species

Note for "Project Type" column in table above: WGS = Whole Genome Sequencing


Credit for Data in Table:
Genomes OnLine Database (GOLD)



VOICES OF HOPE

Finally, here are a few voices of hope. The hope is for humankind to realize some sort Heaven on Earth for the living to enjoy each day.

Watch (Tracie Spencer, This House)




Watch (Stevie Wonder, Feeding Off The Love Of The Land)



Watch [Hubert Laws (Gabriel Faure), Pavane]



Watch [Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca (Leo Delibes), Lakme (Flower Duet)]



Watch [Andrea Bocelli (Franz Schubert), Ave Maria]



Please visit related page:
  1. http://bruessard.info/genomics.html


Additional Genome References:
  1. Help Me Understand Genetics - Genetics Home Reference | U.S. National Library of Medicine
  2. YourGenome.org
  3. DNA Interactive: Discovering the DNA Structure and Beyond
  4. Home - Genome - NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  5. Ensembl Genome Browser
  6. Genome Data Viewer
  7. UCSC (University of California at Santa Cruz) Genome Browser Home
  8. Genome Maps
  9. Interactive Centre | The Human Genome
  10. GNN (Genome News Network) - Quick Guide to Sequenced Genomes
  11. GOLD (Genomes Online Database) | Home
  12. Education | National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
  13. How can I find a genetics professional in my area? - Genetics Home Reference
  14. List Results - ClinicalTrials.gov
  15. Free Family Trees - FamilySearch.org
  16. Accu-metrics - DNA Testing
  17. Gene by Gene
  18. 100 Greatest Discoveries (TV Mini-Series 2004-2005) - Episodes 7: Genetics - IMDb


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Intellectual Property Disclosures: All videos and songs (as well as many of the images) referenced or spotlighted throughout this website are the legal and intellectual properties of others. All content and opinions on this website (bruessard.com) are those of the author (Edward Bruessard) exclusively and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the contributors, creators, owners, and distributors of these referenced videos, songs, and images. The author holds no legal interest or financial stake in any of these referenced videos, songs, and images. The contributors, creators, owners, and distributors of these referenced videos, songs, and images played no role at all regarding the appearance of said videos, songs, and images throughout this website; they had no clue that this website would be spotlighting their works.






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