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Will Genetics Be Neo-Darwinism’s Downfall?

The Institute for Creation Research is gearing up for a multi-year GENE project to look for evidence for design (and against evolution) in the genome.  They may not need to work very hard.  Secular scientists, by continuing to find things not all that helpful for neo-Darwinism, are doing yeoman’s work for them.     While […]

How Much Can a Cell Do Without?

In an old high school game, the leader would call some unsuspecting boy to the front, put a sheet over him, and say, “Take off what you don’t need.”  Perhaps a shoe would emerge from under the sheet.  “Take off something else you don’t need,” the leader would continue, and the volume of giggling in […]

Reviewer Stunned by Author’s Handwaving

David Nicholls appears to have suffered whiplash from a line in a book he was reviewing in Science,1 Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life by Nick Lane (Oxford, 2006).  Though he liked the book in general, he said this about Lane’s explanation for how the first cell got its power generator: The […]

Misfolded Proteins Cause Cascade of Harmful Effects

Understanding how proteins fold is at the leading edge of scientific research.  Proteins begin as linear chains of amino acids (polypeptides), but end as complex shapes with loops, sheets, bumps, ridges and grooves that are essential to their functions.  If you imagine a string of beads, some with electrical charges, magnets, oil droplets or other […]

Introns Stump Evolutionary Theorists

This story is not about Enron and Exxon, but about introns and exons.  The proportions of the scandals they are causing in evolutionary theory, however, may be comparable.     Introns are spacers between genes.  For several decades now, it has been a puzzle why they are there, and why a complex machine called a […]

In Praise of Fat

Well, great balls of fat.  Cells have spherical globs of lipid (fat) molecules that never had gotten much attention nor respect.  They have been called lipid droplets, oil bodies, fat globules and other names suggesting they were just the beer bellies of the cell.  Not any more.  Scientists have been taking a closer look at […]

Precision of Cell Quality Control Described

Two research papers in Molecular Cell give more glimpses into the precision of cellular controls to ensure mistakes are detected and weeded out before harm occurs.  Vogel, Bukau and Mayer1 found that the molecular “chaperone” Hsp70 has a “proline switch,” found in all living organisms.  This switch regulates when the polypeptide needing to be folded […]

Soil Provides Library of Antibiotic Resistance

The “evolution of antibiotic resistance” is a staple in the creation-evolution debates, providing evolutionists with a living illustration of evolution taking place right before our eyes.  What if all the information for antibiotic resistance, however, already exists in a library from which bacteria can find it?  That seems to be the implication of a study […]

Health Depends on Robust Cell Machinery

When we think of health, we typically visualize the big things: firm muscles, energy, lack of a protruding stomach and the like.  Cell biology, though, is showing us how our health depends on the proper functioning of countless myriads of molecular machines.  Here are some recent samples from the science journals: Heroic Underdogs in the […]

Minimal Cell More Complex Than Expected

Craig Venter’s lab has been working on an interesting project in theoretical biology: what is the minimum set of genes needed for life?  They have taken one of the simplest organisms, Mycoplasma genitalium, and knocked out genes to see which ones are essential and which are nonessential for viability.  (This is part of the “top […]

Don’t PNA in our OOL

Theories for the origin of life (OOL) are in a crisis, unable to imagine how something as complex as a replicating cell could come into existence. Could PNA do it?

One-Celled Organism’s Spring Generates Enormous Forces

The pioneering Dutch microscopist Antony van Leeuwenhoek marveled at the miniature “animalcules” he witnessed darting through the water and spinning like a top.  One such marvelous protozoan was Vorticella.  The way it rapidly contracted and expanded on its little stalk must have reminded Leeuwenhoek of a spring.  It turns out, it is a spring – […]

Micro-RNAs are Cell’s Optimizers

“Unnoticed next to the main ingredients, microRNAs were considered to be ‘junk’ DNA, leftovers from millions of years of evolution.”  That line comes from an article on EurekAlert telling about how dramatically that picture has changed.  RNA molecules are now seen to be indispensable, with many roles in the cell.  This article talked about how […]

Cell Ribosome Assembly Is Like Throwing Car Parts Together

Ribosomes are the protein-assembly machines in the living cell (11/24/2005, 07/26/2005, 01/19/2005).  A bacterium can have thousands of them.  They are composed of two large RNA complexes; the smaller one has 20 unique proteins that fit snugly in various parts of the apparatus, and the larger complex has even more.  How do the parts all […]

Nature Cover Exploits Intelligent Design While Inside Attacks It

The 11/24 issue of Nature included two very caustic letters attacking intelligent design, yet its cover story highlighted the promising new field of Synthetic Biology.  In one of the leading papers,1 David Sprinzak and Michael B. Elowiz of Caltech (see 06/25/2005 entry) described the synthetic approach in terms reminiscent of William Paley’s old Divine Watchmaker: […]
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