Monday, September 10, 2007

Freak spaghetti arrangement?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Synthetic Life.

Spontaneous living cells in a test tube from simple ingredients?
Well no …..not quite…. we supply the carefully made membranes….oh and the 36 enzymes…. Oh and also the ribosomes…..oh and also the genetic information! But we are nearly there!

At least this is the illusion that some origin of life researchers seek to indicate.

Dr. Giovanni Murtas from the Synthetic Biology and Supramolecular Chemistry group at RomaTre University says:
"We can prove at this point that we can have protein synthesis with a minimum set of enzymes - 36 at the moment."

The fluescent green colouring indicates that these "primitive cells" can synthesize a protein from the supplied genetic information.

According to the guardian account this result “will teach us about the earliest stirrings of life in Earth’s primeval slime some 3.5bn years ago.”
Yerrr sure!

I would have thought that to any unbiased observer this result simply reminds us all that there is no hope that the primeval slime…no matter how exotic and how many billion years you give it will ever produce a living organism with minimal information and functioning protein machinery.

The information to specify such elegant structures as these does not hang around in primeval slime waiting for 36 enzymes and a few ribosomes to arrive.

I am not against this kind of work at all... I applaud it! What I am against is giving the impression that the solution to the problem of the origin of life is nearly solved and it is just a matter of time before we crack it.

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