Why 3 billion DNA sequences
are not enough to build a human being

by MadScientist

The assumption that you are not a computing machine...

Most people think of a machine as something made of motors, wires, tubes, processors, electrical voltages, sensors, inputs, and outputs. Yet all of these elements can be recognized in an organic form as part of the human body. Your muscles are the linear servos, your heart the hydraulic pump, your nervous system the processors, the inputs your ears and eyes, and the outputs your speech and actions. If your mind can add 2 numbers together then that must mean your brain has the same logic gate pathways available to it as a digital calculator. There is no way around logic. Very little is known to science about how the brain computes logic, other than it involves neurological impulses. The term 'neural net processor' is passed around, but still no one knows what it really means (maybe Arnold Schwarzenegger knows...). We do know some of the mechanics of logic in the brain without understanding the meaning. For instance, Purkinje neurons in the brain can produce 3 known output firing patterns based on several input stimuli, much like how a multiplexer can switch output logic based on its inputs. The output consists of a coded pattern of pulses followed by silence.

DNA then must represent all of the bare minimum coding required to produce a human being, both the physical machine and the software to run it. 3 billion sequences seems like it should do the trick, right? After all, we are here and we have 3 billion sequences. Isn't that enough conclusive evidence? DNA encodes for 20 different amino acids, each utilizing 3 nucleotides, so our DNA has 1 billion total "instructions" available. Take into consideration there are other lifeforms on the planet that have well over 3 billion DNA sequences, yet are far less complex than a human. For instance a Paris japonica flower has 150 billion DNA sequences, 50x more than our genome! Even a simple fern known as Ophioglossum has 1260 chromosomes per cell, we have only 46. But wait, the Amoeba dubai has over 670 Billion base pairs! An amoeba is more advanced than a human??? There is no known reason for the inconsistency.

If you convert the represented data in the DNA into a binary representation it would take up 1.5 gigabytes of data. That would mean all the information to build a human could fit onto a couple CD roms. Again that "seems" like a lot of data. But in reality it takes a great deal more information to assemble something as large and detailed as a human being.
The muscle protein Titin

Assembling the proteins for your body requires a Enourmous amount of data...

DNA stores the information to create all necessary proteins. It stores all instructions to assemble, fold, join, and cut those said proteins into much larger and complex forms. All proteins are produced by ribosomes in the cell, and come out in a simple chain of amino acids. Just to form the initial chain of amino acids in the cell is a lengthy not fully understood process with many needed control systems. Consider that for every protein form it takes many "chaperone" enzymes (a type of protein) to build it as well as proteins involved in controlling the building process. These chaperone proteins are the cutters, welders, and benders of the factory that is a cell. Take the protein AMP for instance. It is the predecessor to ATP, the energy molecule that all living organisms use. To build AMP in a cell environment it requires 13 machining steps involving 12 other chaperone enzymes, 5 units of ATP for energy, as well as a system of control proteins not yet known. Although this process can be simplified in a lab setting with high temperatures, etc.. none said methods can be used in a cell, as the cell would die. That is a lot of work put in for just one "simple" protein.

Now take into consideration that all 12 of the chaperone enzymes involved must be made ahead of time in the proper ratios with their own lengthy processes with their own necessary chaperone enzymes, and those chaperone enzymes used to make those chaperone enzymes need their own control processes and chaperone enzymes to build them, etc, etc, etc... Imagine how many enzymes and steps are involved to make larger more complex proteins such as Titin which is composed of 27,000 amino acids.
A eukaryotik human cell

Assembing proteins into a working cell requires a Huge amount of data...

Even with scanning electron microscopes it is impossible to see the complete elegant structure of a cell. Standard light based microscopes also kill cells from the extreme light energy needed for magnification, as well as the necessary stainings to see the mostly translucent components. Only dark field microscopy can view living cells and tissue at magnification, but the resolution is still relatively low. If we could see inside the cell and its organelles while alive and in motion, and see all of the chemical interactions, there would be no doubt that the cell is a World of factories all working together in near perfect timing. it would be a million times more awe ispiring that an episode of "How It's Made".

The cell is not made of round circles, nor straight lines, but rather many twisting and turning features of proteins. Every twist and turn MUST require some bit of data/instruction to make a change of path of construction as a cell divides and creates new membranes and organelles. Similar to a CNC router or a 3d printer, for every change in direction of the toolhead there is a data entry to instruct the change. Although cells aren't "printed" the information requirements are the same for any kind of detailed construction. The question is how many instructions are required to build a new cell? No scientist really knows. A simplier cell such as common bread yeast has around 42 million proteins, so it would be sensible to say that it takes millions of instructions to assemble it. Human cells though can differenciate into many types through gene expression, making their construction process even more complex and information heavy.
Human tongue tissue

Assembing cells into the tissues of the human body is a Gargantuan amount of data...

Humans on a whole, like the cell, are not made of simple circles and lines. We are made of many trillions of complex twisting and turning shapes. The mature human body is estimated to have around 37.2 Trillion cells. Again the number of cells far outnumbers our 3 billion base pairs. But the amount of data needed to put those 37.2 trillion cells into the proper orders is greater by a magnitude. Look at these images of different human tissues. Each tissue has some repeating patterns, but these patterns themselves are highly complex consisting of millions of proteins in unique positions. EVERY unique posistion of a cell must represent a unique point of data within the DNA code, otherwise your stem cells would not know when and where to differentiate into the many various types as your grow from an embryo.

Human colon tissue
Each cell differentiates based on chemical signalers known as morphogens. These morphogens are the "variables" used to control cell division. Some morphogens are point specific while others can create a spanning change based on a chemical gradient. Not only is the type of cell important but also the morphological shape of the divided cell. The successive shapes of the outer cell membrane created by cell divisions are what control the direction of growth and overall shape of the tissue. Again, every unique change of direction, shape, and type of new cell by morphogens requires some bit of data/instruction to make the change possible. Think about how many undulations, lines of separation, twists, and folds are in these tissue examples. And that is just a thin 2D slice. Now, think about how many changes in direction, separation, length, and cell types must be involved to build an entire mature organ like the stomach or brain. No one knows the numbers but I estimate the required data is probably in the hundreds of trillions or more. What ever the amount of data needed is, it is still far greater than 3 billion base pairs.
All the types of skin sensors

Human nervous system, sensors, and their mental representation in the mind is a Insane amount of data...

You have around 22 square feet of skin. Every square inch of skin has around 1000 nerve endings. Areas of high sensitivity like finger tips have around 2,500 nerve endings per cm^2. In total you have at around 350,000 nerve endings just in the skin. Your muscles and organs have hundreds of thousands of nerve endings as well, many of which you have no voluntary control over. In your skin and some muscles you also have various sensors that send information about soft/hard pressure, heat, cold, hair motion, and pain. If the physical sensors and nerve endings in your body are the "hardware" then the mental experience of them in the mind is the "software" aspect. Muscle fibers in your body have individual units, called myofibrils, that receive signals from the nervous system to contract like a linear servo motor. Every myofibril must have a unique mental "variable" representation, otherwise your nervous system would not be able to singularly address it. So for every myofibril there would need to be a piece of DNA code that represents that variable in a biological way. After all, the mind is just biological.

Complex nose tissue called
the olfactory epithelium
Think about this, the point of sense you have at the tip of your left index finger is separate and unique from the point of sense from the tip of your right shoulder. It would have to be separate and unique, otherwise how would your mind distinguish between the two. For every smallest point of sense on your nerve endings there is a equal mental representation. Not only is every point represented but also the mental variables for heat, cold, pressure, hair motion, and pain for each sensory point. This 3d sensory map must have complete representation in the DNA.

The human nose, although not as impressive as a dog's, can smell over 1 trillion different odors. Inside the nose is the tissue called the olfactory epithelium, containing millions of sensory receptors. There are over 400 different types of these receptors and there must be a genetic representation for all of them. It is theorized that 3% of our DNA is dedicated to the olfactory system. That is quite a bit of data.

Every rod and cone requires a
unique piece of DNA to represent it
Our eyes are full of even more sensors. Each eye has about 120 million rods and 6 million cones, so over 250 million all together. Consider each of these sensors a "pixel" of the image received by the eye. A 4k screen has only 8.3 million pixels by comparison. The amount of processing power needed to render the images we see into 3d data would take well over 100 computer systems. Our brain performs complex algorithms on data from the eyes as well. In our mind we have built in functions for white/color balance, object recognition and separation from background, and even image stabilization. If you have ever walked down a dark hallway or cave with a small spot of light at the end of it you may have noticed that the light jumps and jitters around. This is because your mind's image stabilization functions cannot perform their duty without the positional data of your surroundings. Again, there must be at least 250 million portions of data in the DNA to represent each unique sensor in the eye.

Every unique point that you can mentally
sense is represented in DNA
Even greater than the number of all of these sensory points I have presented is the mental programming needed to address, receive, and respond to signals. This amount of processing work is downplayed, marginalized, or just plain ignored by modern scientists. Most biologists probably wont agree that the brain functions logically like a computer, but 99% of biologists have never written a piece of code and have little to no understanding of the amount and depth of logic required to accomplish certain algorithmical tasks. If you can think and understand an algorithm on paper, then your brain has the same logical mechanics and pathways as in said algorithm. If your eyes can do object recognition and separation then they must be doing some similar mathematical matrix multiplication tricks as used in visual artificial intelligence systems. But again, the algorithm that produces this solution [in the brain] remains little-understood. At least those scientists who look seriously at the depth of the problem are aware of their own ignorance. The great scientist Michael Faraday said, "There’s nothing quite as frightening as someone who knows they are right.”
Your DNA data is mostly "downloaded"

Where is all this extra needed data coming from?
My thoughts...

If the necessary data isnt inherent in the DNA then it must be coming from some remote source. I believe that our DNA represents some coding for initial development. But, at some point of growth (embryo, fetus, I don't know when) there is a remote download mechanism to acquire the rest of the data for development. This would mean that there exists a signal around us that represents the full coding for a human, and inside our cells there exists some yet unknown control system to pick up and translate the signal. This could be true for other complex organisms as well. What is the origin and meaning of this signal?, well now you are getting into some religious/philosophy talk. But that is why I say these are my thoughts, you can interpret this information how ever you would like.

The simulation theory would explain such a mechanism... that our identy is somewhere else, and we are living in a computer program. That modern science progressed to the point where a VR experience is acceptable reality. I don't think that is the case though, as I don't see humans as we know being able to build such a VR system. There is a rule of logic that one order of complexity cannot create an equal order of complexity, but only things of a lower order. For instance, we cannot build a robot that can completely recreate itself from scratch, having to gather raw materials from the environment. And what would be the purpose of this simulation anyway? Some people have easy lives, some people have terrible lives, and it seems that life is not fair. And many people just have boring bland lives and wonder why they are even here.

Rather than a unfair simulation, I think that life is closer to a entertaining game. That we are all contestants here earning rewards for our troubles and accomplishments, and when we "exit" the game our scoreboard pops up and tells us how we did, and then we enter back to our "home" lobby, perhaps with rewards and prizes. Here is my article on my Life is a Game Theory. Cheers!