The Fifth Race and DNA Spiders at the Nanoscale
May 15, 2010 07:40 AM
by Morten Nymann Olesen
My views are:
Spiders at the Nanoscale: Molecules that Behave Like Robots
"NEW YORK (May 12, 2010) - A team of scientists from Columbia University, Arizona State University, the University of Michigan, and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have programmed an autonomous molecular "robot" made out of DNA to start, move, turn, and stop while following a DNA track.
The development could ultimately lead to molecular systems that might one day be used for medical therapeutic devices and molecular-scale reconfigurable robots-robots made of many simple units that can reposition or even rebuild themselves to accomplish different tasks. A paper describing the work appears in the current issue of the journal Nature.
The traditional view of a robot is that it is "a machine that senses its environment, makes a decision, and then does something-it acts," says Erik Winfree, associate professor of computer science, computation and neural systems, and bioengineering at Caltech."
"In normal robotics, the robot itself contains the knowledge about the commands, but with individual molecules, you can't store that amount of information, so the idea instead is to store information on the commands on the outside," Walter says. And you do that, Stojanovic says, "by imbuing the molecule's environment with informational cues."
"We were able to create such a programmed or 'prescribed' environment using DNA origami," explains Yan. DNA origami, an invention by Caltech Senior Research Associate Paul W. K. Rothemund, is a type of self-assembled structure made from DNA that can be programmed to form nearly limitless shapes and patterns (such as smiley faces or maps of the Western Hemisphere or even electrical diagrams). Exploiting the sequence-recognition properties of DNA base pairing, DNA origami are created from a long single strand of DNA and a mixture of different short synthetic DNA strands that bind to and "staple" the long DNA into the desired shape. The origami used in the Nature study was a rectangle that was 2 nanometers (nm) thick and roughly 100 nm on each side.
The researchers constructed a trail of molecular "bread crumbs" on the DNA origami track by stringing additional single-stranded DNA molecules, or oligonucleotides, off the ends of the staples. These represent the cues that tell the molecular robots what to do-start, walk, turn left, turn right, or stop, for example-akin to the commands given to traditional robots.
The molecular robot the researchers chose to use-dubbed a "spider"-was invented by Stojanovic several years ago, at which time it was shown to be capable of extended, but undirected, random walks on two-dimensional surfaces, eating through a field of bread crumbs.
To build the 4-nm-diameter molecular robot, the researchers started with a common protein called streptavidin, which has four symmetrically placed binding pockets for a chemical moiety called biotin. Each robot leg is a short biotin-labeled strand of DNA, "so this way we can bind up to four legs to the body of our robot," Walter says. "It's a four-legged spider," Stojanovic says. Three of the legs are made of enzymatic DNA, which is DNA that binds to and cuts a particular sequence of DNA. The spider also is outfitted with a "start strand"-the fourth leg-that tethers the spider to the start site (one particular oligonucleotide on the DNA origami track). "After the robot is released from its start site by a trigger strand, it follows the track by binding to and then cutting the DNA strands extending off of the staple strands on the molecular track," Stojanovic explains.
"Once it cleaves," adds Yan, "the product will dissociate, and the leg will start searching for the next substrate." In this way, the spider is guided down the path laid out by the researchers. Finally, explains Yan, "the robot stops when it encounters a patch of DNA that it can bind to but that it cannot cut," which acts as a sort of flypaper.
Although other DNA walkers have been developed before, they've never ventured farther than about three steps. "This one," says Yan, "can walk up to about 100 nanometers. That's roughly 50 steps."
"This in itself wasn't a surprise," adds Winfree, "since Milan's original work suggested that spiders can take hundreds if not thousands of processive steps. What's exciting here is that not only can we directly confirm the spiders' multistep movement, but we can direct the spiders to follow a specific path, and they do it all by themselves-autonomously."
H. P. Blavatsky said:
"In short, Spirituality is on its ascending arc, and the animal or physical impedes it from steadily progressing on the path of its evolution only when the selfishness of the personality has so strongly infected the real inner man with its lethal virus, that the upward attraction has lost all its power on the thinking reasonable man. In sober truth, vice and wickedness are an abnormal, unnatural manifestation, at this period of our human evolution - at least they ought to be so. The fact that mankind was never more selfish and vicious than it is now, civilized nations having succeeded in making of the first an ethical characteristic, of the second an art, is an additional proof of the exceptional nature of the phenomenon."
"The curse of life is great, yet how few are those men, outside some Hindu and Sufi mystics, who would exchange all the tortures of conscious life, all the evils of a responsible existence, for the unconscious perfection of a passive (objectively) incorporeal being, or even the universal static Inertia personified in Brahmâ during his "night's" rest. "
" "In the initial period of man's Fourth evolution, the human kingdom branched off in several and various directions. The outward shape of its first specimens was not uniform, for the vehicles (the egg-like, external shells, in which the future fully physical man gestated) were often tampered with, before they hardened, by huge animals, of species now unknown, and which belonged to the tentative efforts of Nature. The result was that intermediate races of monsters, half animals, half men, were produced. But as they were failures, they were not allowed to breathe long and live, though the intrinsically paramount power of psychic over physical nature being yet very weak, and hardly established, the 'Egg-Born' Sons had taken several of their females unto themselves as mates, and bred other human monsters. Later, animal species and human races becoming gradually equilibrized, they separated and mated no longer. Man created no more - he begot. But he also begot animals, as well as men in days of old. Therefore the Sages (or wise men), who speak of males who had no more will-begotten offspring, but begat various animals along with Danavas (giants) on females of other species - animals being as (or in a manner of) Sons putative to them; and they (the human males) refusing in time to be regarded as (putative) fathers of dumb creatures - spoke truthfully and wisely. Upon seeing this (state of things), the kings and Lords of the Last Races (of the Third and the Fourth) placed the seal of prohibition upon the sinful intercourse. It interfered with Karma, it developed new (Karma).* They (the divine Kings) struck the culprits with sterility. They destroyed the Red and Blue Races. "
"Speaking of the subsequent race (our Fifth Humanity), the commentary says: -
"Alone the handful of those Elect, whose divine instructors had gone to inhabit that Sacred Island - 'from whence the last Saviour will come' - now kept mankind from becoming one-half the exterminator of the other [as mankind does now - H.P.B.]. It (mankind) became divided. Two-thirds of it were ruled by Dynasties of lower, material Spirits of the earth, who took possession of the easily accessible bodies; one-third remained faithful, and joined with the nascent Fifth Race - the divine Incarnates. "
(SD. Vol. II. p. 110, 192, 244, 350)
The Law of Karma is real.
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