DNA and the Cardano Blockchain

fun

#1

I’ve been working on a graphical representation of the Cardano blockchain and I came to notice it’s similarities to DNA. Wondering if anyone has done any work on the parallels between DNA synthesis, translation and transcription and Blockchain composition?

I haven’t done a deep dive into it at all, just noticing that on the surface there are some similar patterns emerging. An immutable chain of information, content validation methods, translation, transcription, error checking, programmed death, data obfuscation schemes, etc…


#2

Not saying there’s nothing in this but…

Years ago I got fascinated by memetics, which is where “meme” comes from, and in which cultural information and its development is considered analogous with genetic information and evolution. That eventually petered out, I think because, although there are certainly genuine parallels, there are also important differences, and it came to be realised that “memetic thinking” just wasn’t all that useful – except at a very abstract level, such as in philosophy of mind, where it still plays an important part in Daniel Dennett’s theories.

So I would expect blockchain/genetics analogies to go down a similar route, if they go anywhere at all that is…

My 2LL, FWIW… :slight_smile:


#3

I definitely see your point, but in this case I suppose I am arguing that DNA is the original blockchain and there is probably something to be learned from how nature evolved a solution to this problem.


#4

You might be right… :slight_smile:

Edit: actually, now I come to think of it, genetic algorithms in particular might have a lot to offer in this space.


#5

From my studies in Biology it seems that we are finally beginning to understand how to translate DNA into functions in the body, but we still have a pretty weak grasp on how DNA is encoded in the first place. How new information is added to the chain. There must be a wealth of useful knowledge there to inform blockchain construction methodologies.


#6

I thought it is the result of “countless” iteration of mistakes and successes? (A bit like machine learning)


#7

That is the commonly held belief, but it doesn’t really seem like the whole story to me. Shouldn’t there be some communication process? Shouldn’t there be some error checking process? Shouldn’t there be some evaluation of appropriateness?


#8

Wouldn’t the error be that the creature/function just wouldn’t work? so it is inherently only what “works” aka. what survives. that will eventually exist? The appropriateness would be relative, since that would be dependent on the environment said DNA is evolving.

What would you say to this? I am curious cause I do have a biology background and I do not know much specifically about DNA, how it works on a technical aspect.


#9

That is an error checking system for sure. If the organism doesn’t live until it reproduces then the mutation failed. This is commonly cited as the primary driving force of evolution. It just doesn’t pass the smell test. It would seem that there must be a system to writing DNA that is a little more recursive in nature.


#10

Precisely. That’s exactly how evolution works. (Back when I was into memetics I studied the basics of genetics for comparison purposes.)

BTW, it can be interesting for people coming from an infotech background to understand that genetic information is literally encoded in DNA, and (IMO) memetic information is encoded in both brains and behaviour.


#11

There is some evidence that “prions” may be involved in evaluating the real world and facilitating gene sequence selection, translation and perhaps even synthesis.

This is an interesting article on how prions in yeast cells may be responsible for choosing the correct genes to express and the way they are expressed in response to environmental factors to improve survivability of the yeast.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21328524-800-prions-point-to-a-new-style-of-evolution/


#12

Thanks for this, wasn’t aware of it.

However, I’m not sure about “evaluating the real world” as a distinctive feature. Genetics in general can be seen as a process of testing “the real world” for its ability to support life.

This seems to be classified as an example of epigenetics which, though important, as I understand it does not conflict with the more fundamental principles of selection by survival.

(Got that from the article you linked, which I found before you did that edit!)

Edit: OK, now I see what you mean about evaluation… interesting…


#13

Then I might as well say “people walking on the moon almost 50 years ago doesn’t pass the smell test”. :grinning:

Besides, there are loads of junk dna in your genome that doesn’t even get used - so it’s not really a cleanly designed system. And gene expression is largely influenced by methylation, so there is a system of feedback and control.

It’s a wonderful complex system, but I do think it is possible that such a system can evolve over billions of years!