For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.
When beholding the creation with the eyes of faith, we note that some of God’s works so obviously point to our Creator that any theories of origins that exclude Him simply become absurd. One example of this is biological information and the flow of biological information.
The flow of information through biological systems is a foundational concept within the biological sciences. Information flow is readily evident at many levels of biology—from whole organisms to molecules—and is critical to maintaining life. Simply put, information flow is the transmittal of biological information from one form to another, and is the physical reason why all biological processes occur.
Take, for example, a person who is running low on energy. Various hormones and even mechanical processes will transmit the information about low energy in such a way that the person will feel hungry. The feeling of hunger is the result of information related to energy levels that has been transmitted through various forms (molecules, cells, and organs), so that the person realizes that it would be wise to eat. Upon consuming a sufficient amount of food, new sets of information now flow through the person in order to alert relevant organs, cells, and molecules that new energy sources are available for use. Information is also relayed back to the person and results in the feeling of being ‘full.’ These are orderly, regulated processes. Virtually every aspect of living beings’ experience is a result of the processes of information flow.
At the other end of the living spectrum, a specific type of information flow within single cells is sometimes referred to as the “Central Dogma” of molecular biology. The Central Dogma is considered by many scientists to be the starting set of information from which all other information is generated and flows. In the Central Dogma, information exists in the form of ordered sequences of chemicals (called nucleotides) that make up our DNA. These ordered sequences of nucleotides are often illustrated as instruction manuals that provide the directions for producing the parts of cells called proteins. Proteins then build the other parts of cells and carry out cellular actions (like harvesting the energy from food, to extend the above example). The information flow process within the Central Dogma commences with special enzymes ‘reading’ the ordered sequences of nucleotides within DNA. As the enzymes read the DNA, they produce a new molecule, called mRNA. mRNA molecules also consist of ordered sequences of nucleotides. The production of mRNA from the instructions in DNA, therefore, has allowed information to flow from one molecule (DNA) to another molecule (mRNA). As opposed to DNA, which is relatively immobile and sequestered in a specific cellular compartment, mRNA can move freely to the general open area within a cell—the information has now become mobile.
Once mRNA molecules—and the information they carry—move to the cell’s common area, the information flow of the Central Dogma continues. Now, a new set of enzymes reads the ordered sequence of nucleotides in the mRNA, and from that information produces a specific protein. Proteins, too, are constructed by linking together ordered sequences of chemicals (called amino acids); therefore, the ordered sequence of amino acids in proteins is information that directly corresponds to the ordered sequence of nucleotides in mRNA, which directly corresponds to the ordered sequence of nucleotides in DNA. Information flow! As the amino acids are being linked together in their specific, ordered sequence, they begin to fold into a specific shape. This shape is determined by the amino acid sequence and this shape is what gives them their specific function. A protein that serves as a digestive enzyme to break down carbohydrates has a very specific shape, while a protein that serves to produce fat molecules has a very different specific shape. In this respect, the specific shape of each protein is also a form of information that can be directly linked to the original information in the ordered sequence of nucleotides in the DNA.
The information flow comprising the Central Dogma is a topic of much contemporary discussion.
First, new technologies have made it possible to easily edit the ordered sequence of nucleotides in DNA. This is profound because many diseases are the result of ‘incorrect’ information in DNA (some nucleotides are out of sequence). Various clinical trials are coming to completion wherein this new technology has been used to edit the DNA information by putting the nucleotides into the correct sequence. The results of these trials show that it is possible for some diseases to be effectively cured with this technology.
Second, the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 hijacks the Central Dogma information flow process. SARS-CoV-2 releases its own RNA into infected cells, which then read the RNA and produce viral proteins in the manner described above. Once the viral particles are produced by the infected cell, they then assemble many new viruses inside the cell and are released to infect neighboring cells; and the process begins again. With our eyes of faith, we can see this hijacked information flow as both an effect of the Fall and the running of the pale horse.
Third, at least one of the vaccines against COVID-19 that has been approved also hijacks the Central Dogma information flow process. Similar to the virus, the Moderna vaccine delivers mRNA into our cells, which then read the ordered sequence of nucleotides and produce a ‘broken’ piece of the virus’ proteins. Our cells can then present this broken piece of protein to our immune system, which can prepare in advance for a potential SARS-CoV-2 infection. Understanding and harnessing information flow is a pillar of the biotechnology industry.
The remarkable processes of information flow in biological systems is clear evidence of design within living beings. Viewing this information flow through the spectacles of Scripture, we stand in awe before the Creator.