Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

DNA question

  1. Dec 21, 2005 #1
    Hope this doesnt sound too silly, but I seem to recall hearing someone
    say that our species future potenial, I guess our next evolutionary steps are already coded into the DNA. Now this doesnt seem to make to
    much sense to me, but maybe its BS. Anybody ever hear anything like this?

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 22, 2005 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Well, I suppose either (1) an inactive gene could become active or (2) there can be some small scale adaptation within an existing DNA code. But it seems like "next evolutionary steps" (sounds more substantial) for humans will come from mutations (new information)...unless you want to consider genetic engineering.
  4. Jan 4, 2006 #3
    you refer to mutations as "new information" I was under the impression that a mutation is when the dna is not copied correctly somewhere along the line and is changed. I was under the impression that this is what causes bad things to happen to our body. isnt cancer a genetic mutation, along with a number of other fatal illnesses? is a genetic mutation ever good?
  5. Jan 4, 2006 #4
    Mutation is just a change in the DNA sequence of a cell. This can happen due to a variety of causes...incorrect copying, external influences (like UV rays), etc. Mutations can be silent (i.e. they have no effect) or can be 'bad' or yes, even 'good'. It is like shooting at a crowd of people at random. Most of the times you will hit no one or hit an innocent person....but at times, by chance, you can hit a criminal too! :smile: But the importance of these random 'good' hits are they are the driving force of evolution.
    This leads us to the OP.
    So what this means is that our current DNA content sets the constrains and the boundaries on how much we can evolve and in what directions because mutations can only occur in this given DNA content.
  6. Jan 4, 2006 #5
    sounds like you know a lot about it. I am very interested in genetics and I actually just applied to a number of universities for their molecular genetics courses. the problem is my physics. I just dont like it. so far I am self taught in the area.I have done it all through correspondance courses and I am debating dropping my in class grade 12 physics class for next semester. I have the hardest time making myself do it. I found this forum in attempt to find help but funny as it sounds I have never even been to the physics part of this website. I understand it but I dont like it. one might say that it is simply due to my self teaching but I did chemistry the same way and my marks a 93, I love it. how much physics do you think I need to get by in genetics? I can do it but I would like to do as little as possible.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook