the secrets of dna

The Databank of Life: DNA

The progress of science makes it clear that living beings have an extremely complex structure and an order too perfect to have come into being by coincidence. This is evidence to the fact that living beings are created by an All-Powerful Creator with superior knowledge. Recently, for instance, with the unravelling of the perfect structure in the human gene which became a prominent issue due to the Genome Project, the unique creation of God has once more been revealed for all to see.

From the U.S.A. to China, scientists from all over the world have given their best efforts to decode the 3 billion chemical letters in DNA and to determine their sequence. As a result, 85% of the data included in the DNA of human beings could be sequenced properly. Although this is a very exciting and important development, as Dr. Francis Collins, who leads the Human Genome Project states, so far, only the first step has been taken in the decoding of the information in DNA.

In order to understand why the decoding of this information takes so long, we have to understand the nature of the information stored in DNA.

The Secret World of DNA

In the manufacture or management of a technological product or plant, the greatest tool employed is the experience and accumulation of knowledge that man has acquired over many centuries. The necessary knowledge and experience needed for the construction of the human body, the most advanced and sophisticated 'plant' on earth, is stored in DNA. The important point to note here is that DNA has always existed since the first human being in all its present perfection and complexity. As you read the lines below, you will also come to see clearly how unreasonable it is to claim, as evolutionists do, that such a molecule, with all its mind-blowing structure and properties, originated as a result of coincidences.

DNA is delicately protected in the nucleus located in the center of the cell. When it is recalled that human cells – numbering up to 100 trillions – have an average diameter of 10 microns(A micron is 10-6 m.), the smallness of the area in question is better understood. This miraculous molecule is a clear evidence of the perfection and extraordinary nature of God's art of creation. It is so much so that even a special branch of science has been set up to explore the secrets of this molecule, many of which still remain hidden. The name of this branch of science is "Genetics". Recognized as the science of the 21st century, genetics is still in the phase of crawling, as far as solving the mystery of DNA is concerned, despite all the technological means at its disposal.

The DNA, which is found in the nucleus of each of the 100 trillion cells in our body, contains the complete construction plan of the human body. It is evident that such a complex molecule could not be formed by coincience spontaneously, as a result of an evolutionary process.

Life in the Nucleus

If we compare the human body to a building, the body's complete plan and project down to its minute technical detail is present in DNA, which is located in the nucleus of each cell. All the developmental phases of a human being in the mother's womb and after birth take place within the outlines of a predetermined program. This perfect order in the development of man is stated as follows in the Qur'an:

Does man reckon he will be left to go on unchecked? Was he not a drop of ejaculated sperm, then a blood-clot which He created and shaped. (Surat Al-Qiyama, 36-38)

Right at the phase of a newly fertilized egg cell in the mother's womb, all the characteristics we will bear in the future have been determined within a certain destiny and coded in our DNAs in an orderly fashion. All our characteristics, such as our height, skin colour, blood type, facial features that we will bear when we come to our thirtieth year are encoded in the nucleus of our inaugural cell thirty years nine months beforehand, starting from the moment of insemination.

The body of information in DNA does not only determine the physical properties we have mentioned above; it also controls thousands of other operations and systems running in the cell and the body. For instance, even the highness, lowness, or normality of a person's blood pressure depends on the information stored in DNA.

The Huge Encyclopedia in the Human Cell

The information stored in DNA must by no means be underestimated. Though hard to believe, in a single DNA molecule of a human being, there is enough information to fill exactly one million encyclopedia pages. Do consider it; exactly 1,000,000 encyclopedia pages… This is to say that the nucleus of each cell contains so much information as to fill a one-million-page-encyclopedia, which is used to control the functions of the human body. To draw an analogy, we can state that even the 23-volume-Encyclopedia Britannica, one of the greatest encyclopedias of the world, has 25,000 pages. Therefore, before us lies an incredible picture. In a molecule found in a nucleus, which is far smaller than the microscopic cell wherein it is located, there exists a data warehouse 40 times bigger than the biggest encyclopedia of the world that includes millions of items of information. This means a 920-volume huge encyclopedia which is unique and has no equal in the world. Research puts it that this huge encyclopedia would be estimated to contain 5 billion different pieces of information. Were one piece of information present in human genes to be read every second, non-stop, around the clock, it would take 100 years before the process was completed. If we imagine that the information in DNA were put in the form of a book, then, these books put on top of each other would reach 70 meters high.

Let us repeat these two words just mentioned above; 'contain information'…

We should stop here and consider these two words which we pronounce so simply. It is simple to say that a cell contains billions of pieces of information. Yet, this is far away from being a detail that can be casually dropped as a remark. This is because what we talk about here is not a computer or a library, but just a cube that is 100 times smaller than a millimeter, simply made up of protein, fat and water molecules. It is an extremely amazing miracle for this infinitesimal piece of flesh to contain and store even a single bit of information-let alone millions of it.

The information necessary to specify the design of all the species of organisms which have ever existed on the planet, a number of approximately one thousand million, could be held in a teaspoon and there would still be room left for all
the information in every book ever written.

In the modern era, people use computers to store information. The computer technology is today considered as the most advanced technology that paves the way to all other technologies. A body of information, which, 20 years ago, could be stored in a computer the size of a room, can today be stored in small "microchips", yet even the latest technology invented by human intelligence after centuries of accumulated knowledge and years of hard work is far from reaching the information storage capacity of a single cell nucleus. We think that the following comparison would be sufficient to give a sense of the smallness of DNA, which has such an immense capacity:

The cell resembles a big factory which contains conveyor systems, information storing centers, special compartments where chemical processes are made, energy generating power stations, and packaging centers. The only difference between the cell and such a factory is the cell's microscopic size.

The information necessary to specify the design of all the species of organisms which have ever existed on the planet, a number according to G.G. Simpson of approximately one thousand million, could be held in a teaspoon and there would still be room left for all the information in every book ever written.1

How can a chain invisible to the eye, made up of atoms arranged sideways, with a diameter the size of a billionth of a millimeter, possess such an information capacity and memory? And also add the following to this question: While each one of the 100 trillion cells in your body knows one million pages of information by heart, how many encyclopedia pages can you, as an intelligent and conscious human being, memorize in your entire life?

1 Michael Denton, Evolution:A Theory in Crisis, London: Burnett Books, 1985, p. 334.