"The mind is a compact, multiply connected thought mass with internal connections of the most intimate kind. It grows continuously as new thought masses enter it, and this is the means by which it continues to develop."

Bernhard Riemann On Psychology and Metaphysics ca. 1860

"It is clear that the minds are the most important part of the universe, and that everything was established for their sake; that is, in choosing the order of things, the greatest account was taken of them; all things being arranged in such a way that they appear the more beautiful the more they are understood."

G. W. Leibniz

Today's Elites

Monday, October 04, 2010

Elasticity, Stem Cells, Telomeres, and Loss of Histones

Two results from separate investigations were announced last week that seem to have a peculiar similarity. One showed that stem cells respond and multiply when their environment causes them to stretch. The other showed that as telomeres shorten, the production of histones declines. These are what wind the DNA tightly in a spool like fashion. As histones are lost the DNA unwinds, causing loss of fidelity in transcription and hence epigenetic changes to the genome. So the positive or negative response to stretching or winding and age appears to be similar here.

One more piece of intriguing research in this vein. The elastic energy of DNA itself has now been measured. And it kinks as it is stretched by a critical amount. This to me appears to point strongly in the direction of the soliton model for DNA.

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