DNA structure under microscope

For decades, modern molecular biology has touted a very specific principle in explaining the process of the flow of genetic information that makes cells and new organisms. In brief, self-replicating double-stranded DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) are responsible for long-term storage and transmission of genetic information, while single-stranded ribonucleic acid (RNA) acts as a messenger between DNA and ribosomes to directly code for amino acids and make proteins.

Although DNA gets most of the attention, it is RNA that is responsible for translating genetic information into the molecular machines and structures of the cell to regulate the activity of genes. The unidirectional flow of information is commonly drawn something similar to this:

  • DNA RNA  proteins

 

But in a recent study, scientists provide yet more evidence that RNA segments can be written back into DNA. This study reaffirms the newer bidirectional flow information, which looks something like this:

  • DNA RNA  proteins

 

Published on June 11, 2021 in the journal Science Advances, the discovery of a bidirectional flow of genetic information in human cells, from RNA back to DNA, challenges the traditional central dogma of molecular biology and will have some very wide implications in the future of medicine. The findings suggests that not only do human cells actually have a mechanism for converting RNA messages back into DNA code, but also infer that RNA messages can be used as templates for repairing or rewriting genomic DNA.

Once again, modern science has revealed that nothing in the universe can escape the ancient Natural Law of Yin-Yang.

 

 

Taiji symbol representing the law of yin-yang

The Natural Law of Yin-Yang

According to ancient Chinese philosophy, the Law of Yin Yang, often written simply as Yin-Yang (阴阳), describes two seemingly contrary yet complimentary, interconnected and interdependent aspects of the same unifying primordial life-force, known as qi (氣). Often pictured as two comma-like symbols swirling into each other, one black and the other white, Yin-Yang represents the ever-changing transitional states of things in nature as well as their tendencies in movement and transformations.

Yin-Yang provides a way to understand all phenomena in nature, particularly when opposing or contradicting forces appear interconnected and interdependent, and give rise to one another. While it is often related to mysticism, at its basic core it is a very sophisticated ancient binary numeral system where symbols reveal all the basic patterns of the continual changing nature of life.

In this system, one broken horizontal line (- -) is equivalent to the number 0 (Yin), and an unbroken horizontal line (—) is equivalent to the number 1 (Yang). When combined in pairs, there are a total of four pairs that represent the 4 basic varying degrees of Yin and Yang, including two in-between stages.

Four phases bagua 


Fig. 1- The four phases (Si Xiang) preceeding the eight trigrams (Ba Gua).

 

Adding a third line to each of the four-paired combinations creates the possibility and accuracy encompassed within 8 trigrams. And when two trigrams are added together, a total of 64 hexagrams are possible, providing even a higher degree of sophistication that is representative of the continual transformation of phenomena that is observed ever-unfolding in Nature.

Ancient Chinese drawing of 64 hexagrams.


Fig. 2- Ancient Chinese drawing of 64 hexagrams.

 

 

Yin-Yang and Digital Technology

While this system may seem archaic and overly simple, no one in the modern world can escape its reach. These 64 hexagrams, invented several thousands years ago in ancient China, correspond to the 64 6-bit binary numeral system, from 000000 to 111111, used in modern digital technologies and computing systems.

Hands typing on a computer with binary code on the screen

 

The binary numeral system was invented in 1703 by one of the founders of calculus, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. Not surprisingly, Leibniz attributed his invention to the 64 Yin-Yang hexagrams first outlined in the ancient Chinese philosophical book known as the Yijing 易經, or the Book of Changes, compiled sometime during the Zhou Dynasty (1000 BC- 200 BC). The relationship between the binary numeral system and the 64 Yin-Yang hexagrams are outlined in the following table:

I Ching Hexagram 1
1
Creative

111111

I Ching Hexagram 2
2
Receptive

000000

I Ching Hexagram 3
3
Difficulty

010001

I Ching Hexagram 4
4
Folly

100010

I Ching Hexagram 5
5
Waiting

010111

I Ching Hexagram 6
6
Conflict

111010

I Ching Hexagram 7
7
Army

000010

I Ching Hexagram 8
8
Union

010000

I Ching Hexagram 9
9
Taming

110111

I Ching Hexagram 10
10
Treading

111011

I Ching Hexagram 11
11
Peace

000111

I Ching Hexagram 12
12
Standstill

111000

I Ching Hexagram 13
13
Fellowship

111101

I Ching Hexagram 14
14
Possession

101111

I Ching Hexagram 15
15
Modesty

000100

I Ching Hexagram 16
16
Enthusiasm

001000

I Ching Hexagram 17
17
Following

011001

I Ching Hexagram 18
18
Decay

100110

I Ching Hexagram 19
19
Approach

000011

I Ching Hexagram 20
20
View

110000

I Ching Hexagram 21
21
Biting

101001

I Ching Hexagram 22
22
Grace

100101

I Ching Hexagram 23
23
Splitting

100000

I Ching Hexagram 24
24
Return

00001

I Ching Hexagram 25
25
Innocence

111001

I Ching Hexagram 26
26
Taming

100111

I Ching Hexagram 27
27
Mouth

100001

I Ching Hexagram 28
28
Preponderance

011110

I Ching Hexagram 29
29
Abysmal

010010

I Ching Hexagram 30
30
Clinging

101101

I Ching Hexagram 31
31
Influence

011100

I Ching Hexagram 32
32
Duration

001110

I Ching Hexagram 33
33
Retreat

111100

I Ching Hexagram 34
34
Power

001111

I Ching Hexagram 35
35
Progress

101000

I Ching Hexagram 36
36
Darkening

000101

I Ching Hexagram 37
37
Family

110101

I Ching Hexagram 38
38
Opposition

101011

I Ching Hexagram 39
39
Obstruction

010100

I Ching Hexagram 40
40
Deliverance

001010

I Ching Hexagram 41
41
Decrease

100011

I Ching Hexagram 42
42
Increase

110001

I Ching Hexagram 43
43
Resoluteness

011111

I Ching Hexagram 44
44
Coming

111110

I Ching Hexagram 45
45
Gathering

011000

I Ching Hexagram 46
46
Pushing

000110

I Ching Hexagram 47
47
Oppression

011010

I Ching Hexagram 48
48
Well

010110

I Ching Hexagram 49
49
Revolution

011101

I Ching Hexagram 50
50
Caldron

101110

I Ching Hexagram 51
51
Arousing

001001

I Ching Hexagram 52
52
Still

100100

I Ching Hexagram 53
53
Development

110100

I Ching Hexagram 54
54
Marrying

001011

I Ching Hexagram 55
55
Abundance

001101

I Ching Hexagram 56
56
Wanderer

101100

I Ching Hexagram 57
57
Gentle

110110

I Ching Hexagram 58
58
Joyous

011011

I Ching Hexagram 59
59
Dispersion

110010

I Ching Hexagram 60
60
Limitation

010011

I Ching Hexagram 61
61
Truth

110011

I Ching Hexagram 62
62
Small

001100

I Ching Hexagram 63
63
After

010101

I Ching Hexagram 64
64
Before

101010

 

Yin-Yang and Genomics

As mentioned above, the Law of Yin-Yang is also at work today in the genetic code. The genetic code is a set of rules that describe how DNA is translated into amino acids, which are the basic building blocks of proteins. It involves a set of three-letter combinations of nucleotide sequences called codons.

In RNA, each codon is made from the four basic nucleobases found in mRNA- adenine (A), uracil (U), guanine (G), and cytosine (C). Similar to the 64 hexagrams of Yin-Yang, these four basic nucleotides produce a total of 64 possible permutations or combinations of codons that corresponds to either a specific amino acid or a stop signal. But the similarities do not stop there. 

Although each codon is specific for only one amino acid (or one stop signal), similar to the Law of Yin Yang the genetic code is often described as degenerate or redundant because a single amino acid may be coded for by more than one codon.

The genetic code also does not overlap- a single nucleotide cannot be part of two neighboring codons. Furthermore, like the Law of Yin-Yang, the genetic code is universal, with only very rare variations currently being reported.

Circular chart of amino acids.


Fig. 3- Circular chart of amino acids.

 

 

 

Yin-Yang Transcription Factors

In addition to the recent study, Yin-Yang has already been used to describe transcription factors. These are genetic regulator proteins that regulate the copying or transcription of genes into RNA. Transcription factors basically allow cells to perform logic operations and combine different sources of information to "decide" whether to turn specific genes "on" or "off".

Transcription factors can be either activators that boost a gene's transcription, or repressors that decrease transcription. Groups of transcription factor binding sites called enhancers and silencers can turn a gene on or off in specific parts of the body. 

In 1991, one very unique type of transcription factor found in all cell types of biological species was discovered at Harvard Medical School. This transcription factor behaves not only as both a transcriptional activator and repressor, but also as an enhancer and silencer. After being called different names, Yin-Yang 1 (YY1) was eventually broadly adopted because it captures this transcriptor factor's multiplistic activity. Since then a second similar transcription factor has been found, and it was named Yin-Yang 2 (YY2).

Computer generated drawing of YinYang Transcription Factor (YY1)


Fig. 4- Computer generated drawing of Yin-Yang 1 (YY1) transcription factor.

 

Final Thoughts

Time and again, from matter and antimatter particles, to ATP energy and carbon metabolism, and now again in genomics, modern science continues to confirm that nothing in nature can escape the Law of Yin-Yang. It engenders the limitless concept of transformational duality, one that denies the existence of absoluteness in Nature.

Yin-Yang teaches us that nothing in the universe can ever be completely one way or the other. Every isolated phenomenom is merely one half of a complete wholeness that becomes the starting point for change. What will the Law of Yin-Yang reveal to us next?

About the Author

authorRene M. Rodriguez is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and board licensed acupuncturist with 20 years experience in alternative natural medicine. He's in private practice in Los Angeles, CA, specializing in digestive disorders, skin conditions, infections, environmental illness, and mind-body health and wellness. For more information, please click here.


REFERENCES

  1. Chandramouly, G., et al. (2021). Polθ reverse transcribes RNA and promotes RNA-templated DNA repair. Science Advance, 7(24). https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abf1771 .
  2. Verheul, Thijs, H. J., et al. (2020). The Why of YY1: Mechanisms of Transcriptional Regulation by Yin Yang 1. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, 8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2020.592164 .
  3. Wu, Stephen G., et al. (2015). An ancient Chinese wisdom for metabolic engineering: Yin-Yang. Microbial Cell Factories, 14(39). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12934-015-0219-3 .
  4. Zhang, Wen-Ran. (2011). YinYang Bipolar Relativity: A Unifying Theory of Nature, Agents and Causality with Applications in Quantum Computing, Cognitive Informative and Life Sciences. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.

 

 

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