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Musea E-mail Club #481 Big News in Biology? Catabolic Anabolic Division

Some of you know I have a great interest in biology. This post is about some recent ideas that I have had that I think may be new and important. I'm going to take some time on the introduction, so it will make more sense to you. Please bare with me.

Let's start with metabolism. That's the chemical processes in all living things.
Metabolism is divided into two categories. These are important for you to know before the rest of this makes sense. They are CATABOLISM, and ANABOLISM. Let me define the two.

CATABOLISM breaks down molecules to supply energy, etc. It's a destructive metabolism.

ANABOLISM uses energy to build complex molecules out of simpler ones - constructive metabolism.

You can see that they are opposite but work together.

Now here is an 'IF this, THEN that' argument. I think this will pave the way for the table below. Here goes.

IF every aspect of life is either anabolic or catabolic (or the regulation of either or both), THEN everything has to have evolved from one or the other.
Everything means everything. Nothing falls down from the sky. Everything really is everything. Everything is not only all physical processes, but all psychological developments too. Everything has evolved from catabolic or anabolic chemical pathways. That means that just about everything that is in all living things, is either anabolic, or catabolic or evolved from one or the other.

Let's start with an example. One thing that is apparent is that humans have two sexes - not 3 not 5 not 1 - but two.
Matter of fact having two sexes is very common in nature. What if the main difference between the two sexes was that one leaned toward catabolic type chemistry more than the other? And the second one leaned toward anabolic type chemistry more than the first. Thus the definition of sexes would be the idea that one sex is more catabolic - like, in its basic behavior, and the other is more anabolic - like, in its basic behavior. That would explain why we have two sexes. One sex is more prone to build up - anabolic, the other sex is more pronte to tear down - catabolic. But let's go further.

How would you match the two sets with each other. You have two sexes and two types of metabolism
Two sexes: Male and Female
Two types of metabolism Anabolic and Catabolic
Which sex, male or female, better matches the anabolic behavior, that builds up, nurtures, and is constructive?
Which sex, male or female better matches the catabolic behavior, that is aggressive, breaks down, and has destructive behavior?

For me it is pretty obvious that women are generally the nurturer sex and that would fit anabolic type behavior more than men, and men are generally the more aggressive protector and defender sex and that would fit the catabolic tear down type behavior more than women. Could it be possible that two sexes are no more than evolved versions of anabolic and catabolic chemistry? I think so. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

I'm taking the long way around, because if you can make that leap and see a connection between those two sets after four billion years of evolution; you will better imagine how almost every division in human beings ( or of anything living) is an outgrowth of either catabolic or anabolic chemical processes. And note that these divisions are pretty strong and definite even after those four billion years of evolution! Further, IF I am correct one can answer a LOT of questions about living things.

OK, Here goes. Here is post about the different ways catabolism and anabolism may have evolved into many clear divisions within all living things. There is a short intro to this list too (and some of that is a repeat of what I've said), then the list.

This post looks at life processes as a catabolic/​anabolic division.
The last week in July, and the first week in August, has suggested to me, a lot of ideas on this. Here is a sum up.

Start with the basic concept of catabolic and anabolic biochemistry. I suggest that that biochemistry evolved to many novel forms and developments. Here is my list so far - a list of some of the ways basic catabolic biochemistry may have evolved through time, and some of the ways anabolic biochemistry may have evolved through time.

The two main processes in biochemistry metabolism are CATABOLISM and ANABOLISM. Catabolism 'breaks down' large molecules into small molecules to get energy. Anabolism uses energy to build up big molecules from small molecules.

I suggest:
They are the main division of not only all metabolism but all life processes.
They are the two main ways of evolutionary change - either better catabolism, or better anabolism. (Or better regulation of both).
They are separate because that allows each to be controlled and regulated separately.
They are the most prominent overall aspects of life.

Note how almost every aspect of life has evolved from either a catabolic process or an anabolic process. Note also that though these two opposite processes often coexist in a single living organism, they are still relatively distinct and separate, even now, four billion years after life began! For me this division clearly defines life.*

Finally, remember this list is a work in progress. Expect changes, additions, and possible deletions.


Here are, what I consider, some of the possible ways catabolic / anabolic biochemistry has evolved.

Species level / Sex:

All LIfe Level / ATP

CATABOLIC - Breaks Down Glucose to make ATP
ANABOLIC - Synthesizes Glucose

Hormones - two main types
CATABOLIC Hormones - hormones that manage catabolic reactions
ANABOLIC Hormones - hormones that manage anabolic reactions

All Life Level / Entropy
CATABOLIC: Increase of cellular entropy.
ANABOLIC: Decrease of cellular entropy.

All Life Level / Survival Strategies
CATABOLIC : Fight/Flight, (competition, conflict, survival of the fittest.)
ANABOLIC: Symbiosis, (Tend and Befriend, rest and digest)

Energy Source
CATABOLIC - heterotrophs (animals etc.)
ANABOLIC - autotrophs (plants etc.)

Single Organism Level/ Daily Metabolism Cycle
CATABOLIC : wake period of daily metabolism cycle.
ANABOLIC: sleep period of daily metabolism cycle.

Cell Division/ Replication
CATABOLIC: Cell division - cells divide into single separate organisms
ANABOLIC: Cell division - cells connect up into a multi cell organism.

Human Weight and Weight Related Health Problems
Overweight - CATABOLIC rate low, ANABOLIC rate high
Underweight - CATABOLIC rate high, ANABOLIC rate low.

Growth - ANABOLIC rate high and CATABOLIC rate low.
Loss - ANABOLIC rate low and CATABOLIC rate high.

Two Part Human Mind
CATABOLIC Mind - conscious mind, wake mind.
ANABOLIC Mind - subconscious mind, sleep mind.

Autonomic Nervous system
CATABOLIC - Sympathetic Nervous System, (fight and flight)
ANABOLIC - Parasympathetic​ Nervous System, ( rest and digest)

Emotional Evolution - Anger and Fear
CATABOLIC - two types: anger at not blocking out non nurturing, or fear at not excreting out non nurturing.
ANABOLIC - two types: anger at not taking in enough, or fear at not holding in enough.

Three Types of Psychological Behavior of Karen Horney from her book "Inner Conflicts".
CATABOLIC - Moves against others and Moves away from others.
ANABOLIC - Moves towards others.

All Life Level - Food In, Waste out
CATABOLIC - Waste out - Blocked out or excreted out
ANABOLIC: - Food in - Taken in or held in.

Origin Of LIfe, Clue
CATABOLIC/ ANABOLIC division is an adaptation to the Day / Night or LIght / Dark Cycle. If life is a two part catabolic / anabolic biochemical system, then
clearly it's a cyclical system that has evolved as adaptation to
something in the environment that is also a two part cycle.
The only environmental two part cycle with enough force to fit and enough constancy to last over a long period of time, would be the Day/Sun/Heat then Night/No Sun/Cool daily cycle.
Thus life has to be a biochemical system that has evolved to fit,
mimic, mirror, exist within, and adapt to, the daily sun cycle.
That suggests clearly to me that we must investigate the biochemistry
of life in reference to both a day/sun/heat chemistry and a night/no
sun/cooler chemistry. And that the origin of life was an event such
that it was daily affected by the sun cycle. Note there is most likely also
a wet/dry cycle in this too.

Origin of Life Clue - Chemical processes in both Light and Dark phase
CATABOLIC - Night, No sunlight - UV, hydrolysis of ATP type chemistry.
ANABOLIC - Day, sunlight-UV, dry condensation synthesis type processes.
Here is a list of some other possible evolved aspects of the catabolic anabolic division that may be worth considering.

Key . C - Catabolic , A - Anabolic.

Food - C. Carbohydrates, A. Protein

Breathing - C. Breathing out, A. Breathing in.

Two Hemispheres of the Cerebral Cortex - C. Right Hemisphere, A. Left Hemisphere

Four Options of Food In/ Waste Out - C. 2, 4 A. 1,3.

*Remember this list is a work in progress. Expect changes, additions, and possible deletions.

Tom Hendricks
(editor of the 16 year old zine Musea)

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