I strongly suspect that most mental problems are physical in nature and most physical problems are DNA related. And even when they're not DNA related, treatment ideas could be gleaned from 'natures large scale experiment'. The number of issues that can be identified from a $100 (1x) test and then subsequently treated is mind boggling. For me, that cost is less than a single doctors visit. This side steps the medical establishment which is slow and in many ways archaic. This will lead to a massive leap forward in medicine.
In other news; I'm also of the opinion that IQ is largely determined by DNA, nature as opposed to nurture, and once that is properly figured out I'm sure designer babies are next. I don't think that is a door that can be kept closed. There is already a black market for it. I'll be watching from the sidelines, I think this is going to get interesting.
So most people realize that height is correlated to diet [given: a functioning gene set; your height is then determined by diet] , strength correlated to exercise [given a fairly broad spectrum that your genes support, exercise will update your strength) , visual accommodation ability to how much you need to accomodate.
But people somehow assume that something as complex and intertwined as an IQ score magically appears, stays constant throughout life, cannot be practiced, and isn't linked to some sort of exercise.
On the other hand, if you try to actually predict things like height or IQ directly from some random genetic sequence someone puts in front of you ... well ... that turns out to be rather tricky.
Have you read any papers that give it a try?
I can't help but suspect that a lot of the genome is a part of the boot sequence that helps you go from one cell up to all the differentiated organs and tissues and systems.
It is also important to point out that the fraction of non-coding DNA in a genome depends on the organism and is not correlated to complexity. There are multicellular organisms with less than 5% of it as well as unicellular organisms with amounts of DNA orders of magnitude higher than humans.
Bet I could implement a new lungfish with only a few million base pairs in a weekend.
For the record I like Electron a lot and am usually the one to defend it on HN, but it indeed was a comment on binary size, needless duplication and copy-paste culture ;)
Michael Levin and team at Tufts are instigating regenerative healing by “boot strapping” the process through manipulation of electric fields surrounding cells.
Understanding the extent of network effects will be a big idea in the future. Proving our statistics are probable causes versus mathematical object identification and social debate over the effects.
We’re moving beyond mere taxonomy and catalog of reality into seriously weird science.
Boot sequence. Amazing. I've always been interested in how the DNA transcription looks like a Turing machine with the RNAP being the head and the one DNA strand being the tape. Is there any research in that kind of computational analogy or is it just a coincidence?
What arrogance. "I don't understand what these genes do. Must be junk"
Then there's the rest of the genome. Vast stretches of DNA that don't have the signals needed to transcribe proteins. Why?
They didn't know. They had no idea. It would be decades before they even had a complete copy of the genome. It was years of grinding effort, of trying to work out the big picture by staring through a straw. DNA methylation, gene expression, histone stuff, the entire field of epigeneics-- non-coding DNA playing an active role in cellular operation without directly producing proteins-- was still in the future.
I am a programmer, and I trust my ability to call out junk code. Except if I am reading code from someone like Carmack or Linus. In those cases, I am gonna assume whatever I don't understand is my fault. What hubris would it be for me to call Linus' code junk, even if I really can't make sense of it despite my best effort?
Same here. It's fine to say "we did our best to understand this and as far as we can tell, these genes are not utilized" to go like "yeah it's junk" is quite different. You're a mere mortal, and DNA has been the foundation of all life for millennia. You don't get to judge so easily.
If a section of DNA has no phenotypic consequences then that means that when we look at a sample of genomes from a population, then the stochastic process underlying the evolution of that region of the genome features random genetic drift, but natural selection is only involved via statistical associations with nearby functional regions due to limited recombination. In contrast, non-junk regions of DNA have natural selection involved directly in the stochastic process underlying their evolution. That difference gives rise to a research program where we seek to infer whether or not a region is “junk” by developing statistical models of DNA sequence evolution and fitting them to data sets comprising samples of DNA sequences from multiple individuals in a population.
That’s just one example of how the question of junk vs. non- junk is studied. There’s also comparative genomics which compares genomes of related species, taking the phylogeny into account in the analysis.
You’re not expected to know any of this; it’s evidently not your field. What is expected however, as a reader of an intelligent website such as this, is for you to understand that there might actually be an entire research field lying behind a question, and not to think that everything is so simple that you can understand it without any study at all on your part.
That’s not how junk DNA was defined. Junk DNA regions have no coding regions. No genes. There’s no easily recognized feature or pattern that would allow you to derive or even propose a function, despite decades of advances in the area. In this particular example the analogy with computer code won’t take you far.
For example junk DNA was described before we really understood that RNA genes were common and so large regions of the genome that are RNA genes were just treated as totally non-functional.
Sean Eddy proposed an interesting experiment called the Random Genome to address these questions but I don't think anybody is seriously considering running the experiment.
This study yields tons of gene function leads. Just awesome.
The data is so rich that we had no more than a single paragraph to summarize association signals relevant to cancer and brain function. Ouch. A tweet won’t do them justice, but @uk_biobank will be sharing all the data with researchers for follow-up.
Ok, so I have a high genetic predisposition for thinness, walking fast , and bipolar disorder? So now what? I never noticed except for the thinness. They even scared me with 'you're genetically in the 99th percentile for critical covid disease progression,' but reading the results of the paper in question, it turned out the heritability of the effect under study was only 6%. Thanks for letting me know.
These studies are interesting from a general genomics perspective, but not so much yet from a personal one (with the exception of a few traits that are determined by one or a few well-understood genetic variants. Hopefully this space will expand over the next few decades).
For an individual, the questions are usually much more focused: for example if I have a baby with my partner, what are the chances that our child will have a recessive genetic disorder? This is answered right now with a carrier screen, where the only genes tested as the genes with variants that are known to cause disease. Much cheaper, much more highly curated, and put together and run entirely by experts in the field, rather than general technologists that are just running samples through a big machine.
Interpretation of the genome will take millions upon millions more individual genomes sequenced, but those individuals will only rarely, if ever, see personal benefit.
WHen I had my whole genome sequenced and analyzed by professionals, they were astonished because I didn't have a single risk factor in any known gene. They thought I'd live forever.
Also, things like personalized immunity therapies for cancers and such are not far off. Unless they completely fail - which is always a possibility in therapeutic development.
To give a coding analogy, you can think of this as trying to debug a program written in a language we can’t read. We have no idea what lines are doing what, but there are many different versions / forks of this program floating around. By looking at all the diffs and comparing the outputs, we can start to figure out what some of the code is doing, and which lines we might want to comment out to correct certain types of bugs.
Surely others try to match particular genes to diseases. Surely that’s one of the pillars of the entire field.
It’s still ahead. We just don’t know which decade will yield the eureka.
Voyages of discovery are like that.