Skeptic Friends Network

Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?
Home | Forums | Active Topics | Active Polls | Register | FAQ | Contact Us  
  Connect: Chat | SFN Messenger | Buddy List | Members
Personalize: Profile | My Page | Forum Bookmarks  
 All Forums
 Our Skeptic Forums
 Creation/Evolution
 Scientists develop RNA that replicates itself
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Next Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 2

pleco
SFN Addict

USA
2996 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  01:29:01  Show Profile  Visit pleco's Homepage Send pleco a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Source

One of the most enduring questions is how life could have begun on Earth. Molecules that can make copies of themselves are thought to be crucial to understanding this process as they provide the basis for heritability, a critical characteristic of living systems. Now, a pair of Scripps Research Institute scientists has taken a significant step toward answering that question. The scientists have synthesized for the first time RNA enzymes that can replicate themselves without the help of any proteins or other cellular components, and the process proceeds indefinitely.

The work was published on Thursday, January 8, 2009, in Science Express, the advanced, online edition of the journal Science.



by Filthy
The neo-con methane machine will soon be running at full fart.

H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  02:17:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wow, that is frickin' amazing. Perhaps most important, natural selection began to work immediately, quickly leading to evolved replicators that the scientists didn't seed directly:
[The researchers] mixed 12 different cross-replicating pairs, together with all of their constituent subunits, and allowed them to compete in a molecular test of survival of the fittest. Most of the time the replicating enzymes would breed true, but on occasion an enzyme would make a mistake by binding one of the subunits from one of the other replicating enzymes. When such "mutations" occurred, the resulting recombinant enzymes also were capable of sustained replication, with the most fit replicators growing in number to dominate the mixture. "To me that's actually the biggest result," says Joyce.

I know this research will have zero affect on the views of creationists, but this is a major step toward understanding the origin of life. The god of the gaps just got a little less living space.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Go to Top of Page

Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9672 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  02:55:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This is awsome support for the RNA-World hypothesis.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
Go to Top of Page

HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  03:07:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wow, wow, wow!

I call this the first synthetic life. Truly a stupendous breakthrough. I've long hoped this would finally happen in my lifetime.

Note that the very simple RNA enzymes only needed a start, then evolution improved them. In the ancient world-wide soup of enriched amino acids, something like that "start" was bound to happen within a few hundred million years. Then it was just natural selection, and horizontal transfer, making better and better (from the standpoint of replication) "organisms."

True, these RNA critters are simpler than viruses, and viruses are not life, by traditional thinking. But really that thinking is wrong. Anything that can assemble copies of itself from surrounding chemicals is life, especially if those copies sometimes are "imperfect" and capable of being evolutionarily superior.

Like the fused ape chromosomes that became human Chromosome 2, this breakthrough is a Creationism killer. For the Creos, it's all over but the shrieking, though that may go on for a very long time.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 01/11/2009 03:12:05
Go to Top of Page

HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  03:13:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

This is awsome support for the RNA-World hypothesis.

True! But it may yet turn out that some of the other hypothesis for abiogenesis will also turn out to work. Hell, there may be many ways for life to start.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Go to Top of Page

filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  04:46:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by HalfMooner

Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

This is awsome support for the RNA-World hypothesis.

True! But it may yet turn out that some of the other hypothesis for abiogenesis will also turn out to work. Hell, there may be many ways for life to start.


Someone agrees!



I've thought for years that, as in skinning a cat, there are far more ways than one to chemically create life and only one of them involves some Big, Cosmic Juju or other, and that one a lot less likely than the rest.

I hate to spend any more time than necessary at the sites of usual suspects, but the apologetics this should inspire are not to be missed.




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26000 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  08:58:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by HalfMooner

I call this the first synthetic life.
One of the researchers was interviewed on NPR the other night, and was rather emphatic that this is not life.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  10:18:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
But really that thinking is wrong. Anything that can assemble copies of itself from surrounding chemicals is life, especially if those copies sometimes are "imperfect" and capable of being evolutionarily superior.


We can make machines that can build copies of themselves. But no one would agree that this is life. Much like 5 neurons don't make a mind, it seems to me as if complexity is a requirement for life. With this, there is no sharp distinction between life and non-life, but rather a fuzzy one. And this agrees with the fact that we have been rather unable to come up with a good definition for it.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26000 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  10:37:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Metabolism - breaking down food for energy which is then used to build necessary molecules - is typically a condition that's required before we call something "life," which is why many scientists do not consider viruses to be alive.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

Hawks
SFN Regular

Canada
1383 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  11:33:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hawks's Homepage Send Hawks a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by HalfMooner
Like the fused ape chromosomes that became human Chromosome 2, this breakthrough is a Creationism killer. For the Creos, it's all over but the shrieking, though that may go on for a very long time.

I seriously doubt that the fat lady has started singning yet. The response from the ID camp to this kind of research is going to be VERY predictable.

METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL
It's a small, off-duty czechoslovakian traffic warden!
Go to Top of Page

filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  12:24:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Metabolism - breaking down food for energy which is then used to build necessary molecules - is typically a condition that's required before we call something "life," which is why many scientists do not consider viruses to be alive.
True, true. But: "All journeys begin with a single step." I find this very exciting!




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

Go to Top of Page

HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  14:03:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Originally posted by HalfMooner

I call this the first synthetic life.
One of the researchers was interviewed on NPR the other night, and was rather emphatic that this is not life.
That's in the OP-lined article. Scientists generally say the same about viruses. Abbie Smith emphatically disagrees on the latter, and I'll take her word for it and expand it to these replicating molecules.

Anyway, this is an issue of scientific definitions, and those, too, evolve.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Go to Top of Page

Simon
SFN Regular

USA
1992 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  14:33:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Simon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The definition is life is not really clear cut (which make the IDiotic argument 'life can only come from life' even MORE IDiotic) but essentially, it is a self-replicating organism that can undergo Natural selection.
Virus are not self replicating. As for these molecules, I'd not say they are either, as they still require nucleotides to be present in their medium.
These nucleotides will arise spontaneously under the right condition but, in my opinion, at a rate too low to be judge 'just regular nutrients'.
Life would be for such a molecule to produce its own nucleotides. Not impossible, in fact.

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Carl Sagan - 1996
Go to Top of Page

HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  15:00:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Simon

The definition is life is not really clear cut (which make the IDiotic argument 'life can only come from life' even MORE IDiotic) but essentially, it is a self-replicating organism that can undergo Natural selection.
Virus are not self replicating. As for these molecules, I'd not say they are either, as they still require nucleotides to be present in their medium.
These nucleotides will arise spontaneously under the right condition but, in my opinion, at a rate too low to be judge 'just regular nutrients'.
Life would be for such a molecule to produce its own nucleotides. Not impossible, in fact.
Thank you. I can see that. I had wrongly assumed the new RNA enzymes created their own component nucleotides from amino acids. It does make sense that anything which is meant to simulate the modes of the first life should be able to synthesize their components from common material found in the surrounding environment, such as simple amino acids (ala Urey et al).

Maybe the next step of research would be to get that nucleotide assembly incorporated into somewhat less simple RNA enzymes. Maybe evolution itself could do the trick for the researchers.

On the other hand, the first life may indeed have slowly assembled its descendants from the rare accidental nucleotides, especially in a local environment somehow particularly prone to creating nucleotides.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26000 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  18:07:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
PZ's blogged on this, now.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 01/12/2009 :  05:52:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well really there is nothing that can self replicate without input from the outside, viruses just found a differnt niche, It seems silly to me to exclude them from the 'life' category, soley because they require other creatures to replicate. On that note, can any viruses replicate inside another virus?

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 2 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Next Page
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Jump To:

The mission of the Skeptic Friends Network is to promote skepticism, critical thinking, science and logic as the best methods for evaluating all claims of fact, and we invite active participation by our members to create a skeptical community with a wide variety of viewpoints and expertise.


Home | Skeptic Forums | Skeptic Summary | The Kil Report | Creation/Evolution | Rationally Speaking | Skeptillaneous | About Skepticism | Fan Mail | Claims List | Calendar & Events | Skeptic Links | Book Reviews | Gift Shop | SFN on Facebook | Staff | Contact Us

Skeptic Friends Network
© 2008 Skeptic Friends Network Go To Top Of Page
This page was generated in 0.44 seconds.
Powered by @tomic Studio
Snitz Forums 2000