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Still sick...

...and I've got just two words for that. Code signing.

Seriously. Code signing.

Viruses work because our cells contain machinery which will read, accept, and translate any RNA strands they see into proteins. Any RNA strands they see. Including RNA strands injected into our cells from viruses, or RNA strands transcribed from DNA injected into our cells from viruses.

Which is, from a security standpoint, pretty fracking stupid.

Code signing, I'm telling you. If our genetic material were signed with some sort of unique code that means "yes, this really does come from us, it's safe to translate this RNA and build this protein," and the transcribing and translating machinery would refuse to process RNA that wasn't signed, then viruses could inject their bits into our cells from now 'til Doomsday and it wouldn't mean diddly.

Code signing. Just one more reason why if we were designed by some Grand Creator, he wasn't very good at his job.

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Comments

dorklord07
Dec. 22nd, 2008 10:23 pm (UTC)
The method through which cells determine whether or not to accept chemical signals is actually negotiated at the cell membrane (call it a firewall). There is, as far as I remember, no 'code signing' inside of the cell. Such things have developed so that the body can react quickly to certain stimuli (Adrenaline, go! Melatonin, go! Testosterone, go!)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hormones

The way the viruses have evolved is to imitate the natural signal compounds the body produces and latch onto the cells through the receptors that the hormones need to signal. I guess you could argue that 'code signing' is used there; the virus has to have the proper code to get through the cell membrane to begin with, which explains why we don't all have feline AIDS. (note: hopefully other things explain that as well.) With this code signing, certain viruses don't spit their RNA into us at all.

This part is fuzzy, ask Shelly: 'Code signing' isn't used in RNA transcription since DNA can be split at (almost) any point, which is where the DNA = coding analogy breaks down. When I start Photoshop, it goes through verification before it opens the program. When I make a certain protein in a cell, there can be multiple places on the DNA strand that may code for that certain protein (yay redundancy!)

In this way, the viruses use our natural machinery against us. Now, this is natural machinery that works very well for us. I thoroughly enjoyed the effects of puberty (and still do!). To fight these viruses, our body has developed various and sundry ways to fight it.

This is why vaccines and flu shots are good: because they're like adding extra definitions to your body's anti-virus program. Sickness occurs only when your body can't respond fast enough, and is, actually, a very good thing. It means your body will react faster next time. In fact, having a small amount of ever-evolving harmful viruses and bacteria in your body at all times is a wonderfully good idea, as it keeps all your systems up and running at full strength.

I always blamed my good health on growing up on a chicken farm. I breathed in so much shit growing up, my body's ready for whatever can be thrown at it. XD
dorklord07
Dec. 22nd, 2008 10:24 pm (UTC)
Ha. The guy above me beat me to it. XD