InterJournal Complex Systems, 447
Status: Submitted
Manuscript Number: [447]
Submission Date: 1104
Comment on manuscript revision number 19929
On the barcode interpretation of the DNA structure
Author(s): Sungchul Ji

Subject(s): CX.07, CX.30, CX.33

Category: Article


The author proposes a new hypothesis ("the barcode interpretation") on the role of DNA structure and function. According to this hypothesis, the DNA structure acts as a unique identification label like a "barcode" that serves as an "access key to the gigantic information processing resources of the physical Universe." The author does no provide any realistic mechanisms by which cells can use the DNA barcode to access the "gigantic information processing resources" of the Universe. The barcode hypothesis was motivated to remedy what the author regards as the fundamental shortcomings of the current theories of DNA structure and function which postulates that DNA is sufficiently complex information- wise to account for all the complex behaviors of the living cell. Thus, the author states that "The emergence of such a complex system as human organism cannot be realized by a couple of gigabytes of information of the genome, an amount of information comparable to that manipulated by a common computer device." This conclusion seems at variance with the conclusion reached via another approach based on the principle of double articulation from linguistics that the genetic information encoded in DNA can be almost infinite. According to this approach, the so-called "junk" DNA (ca. 97% of the human genome) is responsible for controlling the 'spatiotemporal' distribution of the expression of structural genes accounting for about 3% of the human genome (Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 870:411-417 (1999)). This double articulation (first articulation = DNA folding; second articulation = liner sequence of nucleotides) mechanism increases the amount of genetic information that can be stored in DNA far beyond the amounts calculated on the basis of the assumption that genetic information is encoded in DNA as a linear sequence of nucleotides alone (i.e., second articulation). Therefore, the basic assumption of the barcode hypothesis that the human genome cannot carry enough genetic information to account for the complexity of the human organism seems invalid. Because of (i) what appears to me to be the faulty initial assumption about the inadequacy of the information storage capacity of DNA and (ii) the absence of any proposed mechanisms by which the barcode of DNA can access the vast amount of the information in the Universe, I feel that the resent manuscript is grossly inadequate for publication at this time.

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