Are We Victims of your Genes?
What is it that controls the genes or DNA? That would be going up the last rung of the ladder to find out what is ultimately in control. An experiment was done and it revealed that DNA was responsible for copying itself! DNA controls the protein and the protein represents our bodies. Basically, it says that life is controlled by DNA. That is the Central Dogma. It supports a concept called “the primacy of DNA”. That says who and what we are and the fate of the lives we lead are already preprogrammed in the DNA that we received at conception. What is the consequence of this? That the character and fate of your life reflects the heredity you were born into; you are actually a victim of heredity.
For example, scientists looked at a group of people, scored them on the basis of happiness and tried to find out whether there was a gene that was associated with happy people that were not active in unhappy people. Sure enough, they found a particular gene that seems to be more active in happy people. Then they immediately put out a big media blip on “gene for happiness discovered.” You could say, Well, wait a minute. If I got a sucky happy gene, then my whole life is going to be predetermined. I’m a victim of my heredity.”
What is taught as medical school
This is exactly what we teach in school and this is what I had also been teaching that people are powerless over their own lives because they can’t change their genes. But when people recognize the nature of being powerless, they also start to become irresponsible. “Well, look, Boss, you’re calling me lazy but I just want you to know my father was lazy. What can you expect from me? I mean, my genes made me lazy. I can’t do anything about it.” Recently in Newsweek, they wrote about how fat cells are waging war on our health. It’s interesting because of an epidemic of obesity science stands back and says: it’s your fat cells that are waging war in your life.
The Human Genome Project
To come and save us, the human genome project entered our world. The idea of the project was to identify all the genes that make up a human. It would offer the future opportunity for genetic engineering to correct the ills and problems that face humans in this world. I thought the project was a humanitarian effort. It was interesting later to find out from Paul Silverman, one of the principal architects of the human genome project, what it was actually about. It was simply this: It was estimated that there were going to be over 100,000 genes in the human genome because there are over 100,000 different proteins in our bodies. There were also genes that didn’t make proteins but controlled the other genes. The project was actually designed by venture capitalists. They figured that since there were over 100,000 genes, by identifying these genes they could then patenting the gene sequences. They could sell the gene patents to the drug industry and the drug industry would use the genes in creating health products. In fact, the program was not actually for advancing the human state as much as it was for making a lot of money.
What they thought they new
Here is the fun part. Scientists knew that as you go up the evolutionary scale, simple organisms have less DNA and when you get to the level of humans, with the complexity of our physiology and our behavior, we have a lot more DNA. They thought that primitive organisms would have maybe a few thousand genes. That humans were going to have approximately 150,000 genes, which meant 150,000 new drugs. The project began in 1987 and just showed again that when humans really put their heads together they can create miracles. In only about fourteen years we actually had the results of the human genome. It also was what I call a cosmic joke.
What were the results?
To begin the human genome project they first studied a primitive organism, a miniature worm that is barely visible with your eye. These worms had been an experimental animal for geneticists because they reproduce very quickly and in very large numbers and thereby express traits that you can study. They found that this small animal had a genome of about 24,000 genes. Then they decided to do one more genetic model before doing the human and that was with the fruit fly because of a large amount of information already available on the genetics and behavior of fruit flies. The fruit fly genome turned out to have only about 18,000 genes. The primitive worm had 24,000 genes and this flying machine had only 18,000 genes! They didn’t understand what that meant. They put it on the back burner and started the work on the human genome project.
The results came in 2001 and were a major shock: in the human genome there are only about 25,000 genes; they expected nearly 150,000 genes and there were only about 25,000! It was such a shock that people actually didn’t talk about it. While there was a lot of hoopla about completing the human genome project, no one talked about the 100,000 missing genes. There was complete lack of discussion in the scientific journals about it. When they realized there were not enough genes to account for human complexity, it shook the foundation of biology
Why were the findings such a shock?
Why is it so important? If a science is based on the way life really works, that science would be good for use in medical practice. But if you base your science on wrong information, then that science could be detrimental to medical practice. It is now a recognized fact that conventional allopathic medicine is a leading cause of death in the United States. It is also responsible for one out of five deaths in Australia.
In the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Barbara Starfield, wrote an article revealing that from conservative estimates, the practice of medicine is the third leading cause of death in the United States. However, there is a more recent study by Gary Null (see Death by Medicine at: www.garynull.com). He found that rather than being the third leading cause of death, it is the first leading cause with over three-quarters of a million people dying from medical treatment each year. If medicine actually knew what it was doing, it wouldn’t be that lethal.
What Dr. Lipton did next
I left the university in 1980, seven years before the human genome project was started. I already was aware that genes didn’t control life. My studies showed the environment was influential but my colleagues looked at me as being radical. Also, a heretic because I was conflicting with the dogma; therefore this became a religious argument. At some point the religiosity of where I was led me to resign my position. That’s when I started to advance into understanding about brain function and neuroscience. What was I really trying to find out is if it’s not the DNA that controls cells, then where is the “brain” of the cell?