Aids to the Examination of the Peripheral Nervous System by D. Riddoch

By D. Riddoch

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It’s crucial to remind ourselves that any organism alive today—a snail, a tree, a person—have all benefited from the same evolutionary mechanisms. Such creatures are not throwbacks; they’re as evolved as we are. Evolution throws dice, tries out a possible configuration, and that configuration may thrive or die. This leads to dozens, thousands, millions of branches in our huge family tree, and each is a cousin, evolved in its own direction, adapting to its own niches. GENES BUILD BRAINS 35 The irresistible fallacy is to think that we have to be the way we are.

Every cell in your body, including brain cells, require energy to operate. The reason we eat is to extract nutrients from other living things. We convert them into chemicals that fuel our cells like gasoline fuels a car. And it turns out that brain cells are the most expensive cells in your body, requiring approximately twice as much energy as other cells. Part of the cost is the expensive constant rebuilding of brain cells. Most cells in your body break down and are replaced over time, but the cells in your brain, with precious few exceptions, do not regenerate, and thus they have to engage in more laborious processes of in-place GENES BUILD BRAINS 47 reconstruction.

Part a depicts the relative number of variations that can be created when genetic instructions are not organized into phrases or modules, and it shows the relative percentage of errorful or damaged individuals that are likely to result from those random changes. Part b shows the two primary effects of organizing the instructions into modules. 1 Genetic code organization produces different organisms. a) Non-modular codes (top left) can build many permutations of organism designs (bottom left), but most of these will be non-viable (“errors”).

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Aids to the Examination of the Peripheral Nervous System by D. Riddoch
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