Thursday, January 8, 2009

Artificial Molecule Evolves in the Lab

[caution: this information may be harmful to fundamentalists]
"A new molecule that performs the essential function of life – self-replication – could shed light on the origin of all living things.If that wasn't enough, the laboratory-born ribonucleic acid (RNA) strand evolves in a test tube to double itself ever more swiftly. Obviously what we're trying to do is make a biology," says Gerald Joyce, a biochemist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. He hopes to imbue his team's molecule with all the fundamental properties of life: self-replication, evolution, and function.

Further in the New Scientist article:

A life-mimicking molecule will also need to assemble itself from simpler components than two halves, says Michael Robertson, a biochemist at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Both DNA and RNA currently replicate with the help of a protein enzyme that joins individual nucleotide "letters". Early life may have done the same, or it could have joined short stretches of RNA, Robertson says.

The conclusion of this article:

"If somebody makes something great in the lab, it's fantastic. But really the origin of life on Earth is an historical problem that we're never going to be able to witness and verify," he says.

Ah, but there is the interesting part of it all.  Of course, one group of people already 'know' the answer because it is written in an ancient manuscript some 4000 years ago.  Although this document does not mention RNA or DNA, it does explain life on earth.

I'm fascinated by science and find new and exciting discoveries each day as I link to my favorite science sites. I find it hard to imagine that a small knot of people would refuse to acknowledge these spectacular science revelations in favor of a  4000 year-old legend. The ignorance is beyond belief, pun intended.

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