Saturday, November 8, 2008

Genoanthropology Manifesto

Genoanthropology Manifesto
Jen McCabe Gorman
July 2008

NOTE: *This is an intellectual exercise.* In no way should any material in this theory be misconstrued as evidence-based, peer-reviewed, fully researched, or 'credible' science. Also, not sure I believe a word of it, but it's fun to think this far out...

What is Genoanthropology?

A new branch of science, dealing with the semantics and cultural organization of language of life:
Geno (race, offspring) + anthropology (the science of humans) = genoanthropology

  • Arthritic belief in linear development of different lines of science without connecting the dots; bodies of science “omes” in and of themselves reflect conflict-ridden nature of RNA tribes-our behavior is reflection or expression of culture of RNA.
  • Lack of scientific background means I'm free to theorize without boundaries imposed by organizational restraints that some part must be 'right.' Academics care most about their reputation – I don't care about that at all. My tenure doesn't depend on my ability to publish on 'safe' topics. I'm free to be intellectually curious and ideaologically wide-ranging.
The important things:
  • language
  • culture
  • knowledge
  • relationships
  • survival
  • Other species in conflict (viruses, bacteria) plus infighting among tribes of RNA

Developments, study disciplines that mirror/reflect deepening understanding:

  • Faith/ecclesiastical study – creation story, Adam and Eve, Angels, chosen creationism, armageddon and resurrection
  • Conflict – warring tribes, peacemakers – diplomats – geneticists and other genomics scientists chosen?
  • Also sexual antagonism, idea of baby as peace treaty between male/female tribes
  • Software – we're like beta testing – evolution
  • Evolutionary Tree

Related disciplines:
  • evolutionary biology
  • systems biology
  • molecular biology
  • biochemistry
  • genomics (functional genomics, comparative genomics, personal genomics)
  • cultural anthropology/ethnology
  • reproductive studies
  • archeology
  • botany
  • medicine
  • zoology
  • proteomics

  • Human Genome Sciences (The Human Genome Project)
  • Hap Map Project
  • 1,000 Genomes Project
  • Richard Dawkins
  • Dr. Pardis Sabeti, Assistant Professor at Harvard University who focuses on the future of genomics
  • Robert Cook-Deegan, M.D., Duke University
  • Peter Donnelly, Oxford (HapMap Project)
  • Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics
  • Journals: Cell, Nature, Science, PLos

Central Tenets:
  • RNA is the central factor (RNA World Theory)– organizing DNA and influencing genomics.
  • RNA is organized into clans, tribes. Some of these are at war with each other (sexually antagonistic genes), some are peacemakers and diplomats.
  • A human embryo is, in effect, a peace treaty between warring factions of RNA. The placenta is contributed by the male faction, and the cortex/chordate structure is contributed by the female faction. But the treaty, as with human treaties, often breaks down. The peace process defaults, and the embryo self destructs (miscarriage, birth defects, genetic disorders).
  • We are on an accelerated, fragmenting timeline of evolution. The war is speeding up. We are headed toward armageddon, on both a species and planetary scale. Increased incidences of cancer, war, economic strife, etc.
  • Our understanding of the language of life (genomics), or our lack thereof, determines whether our societies will thrive or collapse into conflict.
  • Our RNA is trying to accelerate our development to ensure its survival – we are “soft spacesuits” for our RNA.
  • The meaning of life isn't humanity. It isn't plants. It isn't oceans, or geographic systems. It is the societies of RNA that live and reproduce and cooperate and war within us. So to ensure the survival of life, we must send out survival pods of RNA into space. This is perhaps how life on this planet began – RNA pods arrived and began replicating, evolving 'software' and 'hardware' that would work in this environment.
  • Human evolution, as with the evolution of most other species, is like our development and beta testing of software. Version 1.0 – design, release, get feedback based on environmental and user interactions, revise. Version 2.0 – repeat the process. Parts of new models are buggy (increased cancer, obesity, asthma rates in children) and parts of old models are obsolete (vestigal tails, wisdom teeth).
  • Our use of faith-based and conflict language (war, battle, creator, common language, etc) reflect the traditions of our RNA. There is a reason we all have a creation story (garden of eden = RNA home world? Adam and Eve are original warring tribes of RNA? God throws them out of the garden, they land on earth, pass down the history of their culture through our myth structure?), all have language abilities, storytelling, other constants. Polytheism and monotheism structures may actually provide links to WHICH tribes of humans carry which tribes of other words we believe what our RNA believe.
  • 50k major gene "families?" Craig Venter @ Ted
  • Everyone's worried about scaling up for population-based health research – to better understand population-based impacts of genomics on communities (begin paying more attention to health as related to place, situation within community and cultural heirarchies and family groups) we must actually scale DOWN – as Watson and Crick did when looking at crystallization in radiographs that revealed double helix structure as DNA – only with that microexamination was a marcroexamination like that of the Human Genome Sequencing Project made possible.
  • We are patenting genes for breast cancers in the US. This is kind of like slavery – we don't 'own' the same gene in everyone and we certainly don't own genetic sequences. Genomic sequences are NOT intellectual property or corporate capital...they are living entities.
  • Our RNA tribes are at war with eachother, and we reflect infighting, but they're also in conflict with other species, defending the host cities (us) from interlopers such as viruses. Recent research on viral spread suggests waves of attack, much as humans and animals mount attacks using limited resources. They may also have a 'home base' in the tropics: “For starters, the viral diversity peaks in winter in both regions, which means the peak is offset by six months. But the peaks show a distinct pattern, as all the viruses are variations of either H3/N2 or H1/N1—you never get both types of virus in the same year. The peaks seem to correlate in the different hemispheres, although there's limited overlap in the data. To the authors, this suggests that there's a viral reservoir in the tropics, and only a single type of virus winds up successfully spreading from it in a given year.”
  • Genoanthropological developments will be collaborative, interdepartmental, cross-pollinating knowledge and curious inquiry from all developments and sectors – truly open-source science, or science 2.0: ““Possibly the most important of these past lessons is that social movements may emerge organically but often do not succeed until at least some primitive form of organization or basic structure takes form around which resources, supporters, and eventually the general public, can coalesce."

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