The Jaina Doctrine of Karma And The Science Of Genetics ► [4.1] Bondage Of Karma ► ▪ Role Of Genes In Bondage Of Karma

Posted: 26.04.2009

Role Of Genes In Bondage Of Karma

Individual differences in temperament are produced in past by biology, just like the shape of a nose or the colour of skin. The instruction for human development, including aspects of temperament are carried in genes passed from parents to children. Although there are important non genetic factors, such as parenting style and schooling, no single influence is more profound than genetic make up. That is why temperamental traits are expressed only by pursuit throughout life. We are born with the same genes we die with. But the genes themselves don't make a baby cry or giggle, or make the difference between a gregarious car salesman and a shy data processor. Rather the gene controls certain aspects of brain chemistry, which in turn influence how we perceive the world and react to that information.[26]

But why are some babies shy and other outgoing? The shy baby and outgoing baby are responding to the same new faces, but why does the first baby's brain react negatively to a stranger, while the second baby react positively? The root of these responses is in the genetically determined chemistry of the brain, especially the primitive part of the brain called the limbic system. The limbic system is responsible for emotional behaviour - the way people feel and by generating gut reactions they can feel beyond the control of consciousness. Deep in the limbic system are the roots of fear, aggression, lust and pleasure.

If everybody had the same genesthat built the same limbic system and then had the same life experiences, all the personalities would be the same. But limbic systems are different because genes are different. Experiences are different, because we live in a world with so many possibilities. No two people, even identical twins raised in the same home, can share the exact same experiences, which is part of the reason for the unlimited variety of the personality character.[27] The theory is not only stupid but cruel, people are different because they have different genes that created different brains that formed different personalities. The real break throughs in understanding personality are not occurring on leather couches but in laboratories, some of these new findings from labs around the world are explained here for the first time. The lessons can be applied to your own life and to the lives of your children.[28]

The serotonergic is the most wide spread neurotransmitter system in brain. The cell bodies of the serotonin nerve cells are clumped together in the raphe nucleic deep in the mid brain, and the axons branch out like veins throughout the brain. They spread extensively into the limbic system, the "heart" of emotional responses. They wind into the cerebral cortex. Which is involved in cognition and sensory perception, and into the frontal lobes, which are involved in impulse control, empathy, social awareness. Other branches reach the hippocampus, the site of memory and learning and the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, which are involved in appetite and sex. All these organs function with the help of different genes.[29]

The power of love is simple. The way humans pass on their genes is through sexual production. People with genes that somehow made them in capable or disinterested in having sex never had children and therefore did not pass on those genes. They may have been wonderful, even extraordinary people. All their other genes may have been great-genes that made them kind or generous or strong or brilliant or beautiful - but if they did not have sex, those genes were lost for ever. People with genes that inspired sex and attracted a partner had children. The children had children of their own and go on down to us. Their other genes might have been rotten, they might have made them mean or selfish or stupid - but it did not make any difference, their genes were passed on to the next generation.[30]

To guarantee their survival, the genes found a clever trick. Instead of appealing to our higher sense of thinking to continue the human race, the genes made sex feel good, real good. Genes code for millions of touch receptor in the genitals and for the nerves that connect them to the brain, the most important sex organ. In the somatosonsory cortex, the part of the brain linked to the genital area is larger than any other, which is why the genitals are so delightfully, exquisitely sensitive to the touch. Other genes code for the flood of harmones that are released during pregnancy and at the child birth, infusing the mother with warm feelings towards her child. Still other genes, presumably in the primitive limbic part of the brain, help us make receptive to the social interactions and signs of mutual attraction that we feel instinctively that is called love.[31] Even if a woman has no conscious desire to have children, her genes are telling her to choose a man with the resources to raise them.[32] We had found a pattern of maternal transmission, we thought the X chromosome would be a good place to start searching. There was no way a father could pass his X chromosome to his son.[33]

Have you ever seen your DNA? You can know. Here is a simple recipe that you can use to extract your genetic material. Start out with some cells: a few drop of blood or a table spoon of spit will do. Crack them open by adding detergent. We use pure sodium dodecyle sulphate in the laboratory, but most drug store shampoos work nearly as well. Next remove the proteins by adding table salt until a large cloudy precipitate appears; pour the precipitate through a coffee filter. To the clear filtrate add four parts of vodka and place in freezer.

With in an hour or so, the DNA will appear as a web of silky white threads. These can be twirled on to a glass rod, such as a martini stirrer, dried with a hair dryer, and dissolved in a glass of water. That is your DNA. It is not much to look at just a clear liquid when it is in solution. Yet with in it lies the code that makes you a human instead of chicken or bacterium or a round worm. The blue print for your liver and your pancreas and our eyes and your hair. The instructions for the development of your brain from a few meager cells to the most complex biological structure in existence. And at least in part, the instructions for your sense of spirituality. How can something so seemingly simple be responsible for so much? The secret of DNA lies not in its physical properties, which are quite ordinary, but in the information it carries. DNA molecules are like computer chips. They all look pretty much the same, yet they have vastly different functions depending on how they are programmed.

The information in DNA is stored in the form of building blocks known as bases. There are just four of them, abbreviated as A, G, C, T. The bases punctuate the long string of the DNA molecule at regular intervals, like beams on a necklace. Each DNA molecule consists of two strings of beads, wound around each other in the double helix that James Watson and francis Crick made famous in 1952. The order of beads is not random. Every time there is an A on one strand, it is matched with a corresponding C. These base paring rules are what allow the DNA to be faithfully copied when cell divide.

The information of DNA derives from the order of the bases. Every three bases specify one amino acid, a building block of a different type of molecules call a protein for example, the DNA sequence ATG specifies the amino acid methionine, where as the sequence GTA is read as Valine. This is why the exact order of the bases is so important; methoninc and valine are completely different amino acids, even though they are encoded by the same three bases in inverted order. There are twenty different amino acids, and they are chemically much more diverse than the four bases. The conversion of DNA information to protein information involves the same two steps, transcription and translation in every organism.

Amino acids are so important because they determine the structure of proteins, they are the key players in every biological activity. Proteins are scaffolds, the structures that make each cell and organ distinct. Enzymes, the catalysts that direct every reaction in living cells, are proteins. Hormones, the molecules that make a male or female, tall or short, skepy or wide awake, are made of proteins. Neurotransmitters, the signals that tell brain cells what is going on are proteins. We are proteins and what proteins we are made of depends on exactly what DNA we have.

For the human genome sequence we know that our DNA has roughly 35000 different genes, each of which codes for its own distinct protein. That is a surprisingly small number, far fewer than previous estimate of 50,000 to 1,50,000. Humans, chimpanzees, dogs and mice have nearly the same number of genes, the common fruitfuly has 14,000 genes, the flat form has 18000 and the plant Arabidopsis thaliana a type of weed, has a full 25,000 genes. It may be seen surprising that we have only 10,000 more genes than a weed, but it is enough. You cannot tell the complexity of an organism from the number of genes it has any more than you can judge the sophistication of a software programme from the number of lines of code it consumes.

Every human being has pretty much the same DNA, the same 35000 or so genes: "But pretty much the same" does not mean identical. There are subtle differences from one person to the other. These variations, which are sometimes called polymorphism, occur approximately once every 1000 between unrelated humans. Since each human contains a total of about 3 billion bases of DNA, that means that there are about 3 million differences between your DNA and mine. That is what account for all of the inherited differences between us.

While one out of thousand may not seem like much variation. Differences between human and chimp DNA occur only once every 100 bases (or about ten times as often). Even with mice we differ at only one out of 30 bases. Our genomes are so similar because many proteins have the same biochemical functions in every life form.

Of the 35000 genes present in human genome, we know the function of only about one third. These genes code for well known proteins such as the globins that carry oxygen in the blood, the crystallins that make up the lens of the eye, and the gut enzymes that digest our food. Another one third of genes have non-human homologus, meaning there are similar genes in other species. The remaining one third of genes - more than 10,000 of them - are completely unknowns. We know they make proteins, but we have no idea what those proteins are or what they do. They remain a mystery. It is no surprise, then, what we cannot simply look at the genome sequence and say where the God-genes, the genes that create a predisposition to spirituality - are. Even if we know the biochemical function of all the genes, we would not know how they interact with one another, and with the environment, a mould a trait as complex as spirituality.

What we do, however, is identify sequences of DNA involved in the differences in spirituality observed from one person to the next. That is, we can look for what james so apply called "Causes of human diversity" - not the reason that all humans have some attitude for spirituality, but the reason that some have more or less than others. We can attack that question without knowing the function of all the human genes by comparing people with different levels of spirituality by analyzing their DNA, we can identify any sequence variations that track along with the strength of their beliefs, which for the purposes for our study are measured by the self transcendence scale. All that we need to determine this are DNA samples from a series of subjects with known self transcendence scores and a list of reasonable genes to look at.34

 

Footnotes:
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