Scientists create tiny RNA molecule w...

Scientists create tiny RNA molecule with big implications for life's origins

There are 10 comments on the www.physorg.com story from Feb 24, 2010, titled Scientists create tiny RNA molecule with big implications for life's origins. In it, www.physorg.com reports that:

An extremely small RNA molecule created by a University of Colorado at Boulder team can catalyze a key reaction needed to synthesize proteins, the building blocks of life.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at www.physorg.com.

MIDutch

Waterford, MI

#1 Feb 24, 2010
Another article that the "creationists" will diligently ignore.

Fortunately for the rest of us, science keeps progressing along nicely and produces results on a daily basis.

“Shaggin' Wagon.”

Since: Apr 09

Springfield, MA

#2 Feb 25, 2010
I think this ones deserves a special bookmark along with the evolving RNA competitors, RNA from scratch, RNA to DNA RNAse, etc

“There Is One Truth! Jesus!”

Since: Jan 09

Location hidden

#3 Feb 28, 2010
What nonsense! And scientists are jumping up and down like little girls at a slumber party.

More junk science!

These are simply scientist who refuse to abandon the replicating RNA nonsense that has been abandoned long about by many scientists.
“Origin of Life” research
“How did that first self-replicating RNA arise?” Most people know of an “experiment published in 1953 by Stanley Miller. He applied a spark discharge to a mixture of simple gases that were then thought to represent the atmosphere of the early Earth. Two amino acids of the set of 20 used to construct proteins were formed in significant quantities, with others from that set present in small amounts.””Some writers have presumed that all of life’s building blocks could be formed with ease in Miller-type experiments and were present in meteorites and other extraterrestrial bodies. This is not the case.”

“A careful examination of the results of the analysis of several meteorites led the scientists who conducted the work to a different conclusion: inanimate nature has a bias toward the formation of molecules made of fewer rather than greater numbers of carbon atoms, and thus show no partiality in favor of creating the building blocks of our kind of life.””RNA’s building blocks, nucleotides, are complex substances as organic molecules go.””Amino acids, such as those produced or found in these experiments, are far less complex than nucleotides”.”No nucleotides of any kind have been reported as products of spark discharge experiments or in studies of meteorites.”

“To rescue the RNA-first concept from this otherwise lethal defect, its advocates have created a discipline called prebiotic synthesis. They have attempted to show that RNA and its components can be prepared in their laboratories in a sequence of carefully controlled reactions.” Finding “a specific organic chemical in any quantity… would justify its classification as ‘prebiotic,’ a substance that supposedly had been proved to be present on the early Earth. Once awarded this distinction, the chemical could then be used in pure form, in any quantity, in another prebiotic reaction. The products of such a reaction would also be considered ‘prebiotic’ and employed in the next step in the sequence.””Unfortunately, neither chemists nor laboratories were present on the early Earth to produce RNA.””The analogy that comes to mind is that of a golfer, who having played a golf ball through an 18-hole course, then assumed that the ball could also play itself around the course in his absence. He had demonstrated the possibility of the event; it was only necessary to presume that some combination of natural forces (earthquakes, winds, tornadoes and floods, for example) could produce the same result, given enough time.”

“There Is One Truth! Jesus!”

Since: Jan 09

Location hidden

#4 Feb 28, 2010
(continued from above)
“Many chemists, confronted with these difficulties, have fled the RNA-first hypothesis as if it were a building on fire. One group, however, still captured by the vision of the self-copying molecule, has opted for an exit that leads to similar hazards. In these revised theories, a simpler replicator arose first and governed life in a ‘pre-RNA world.’ Variations have been proposed in which the bases, the sugar or the entire backbone of RNA have been replaced by simpler substances, more accessible to prebiotic syntheses. Presumably, this first replicator would also have the catalytic capabilities of RNA. Because no trace of this hypothetical primal replicator and catalyst has been recognized so far in modern biology, RNA must have completely taken over all of its functions at some point following its emergence.”

“Further, the spontaneous appearance of any such replicator without the assistance of a chemist faces implausibilities that dwarf those involved in the preparation of a mere nucleotide soup. Let us presume that a soup enriched in the building blocks of all of these proposed replicators has somehow been assembled, under conditions that favor their connection into chains. They would be accompanied by hordes of defective building blocks, the inclusion of which would ruin the ability of the chain to act as a replicator.””There is no reason to presume that an indifferent nature would not combine units at random”.

“Probability calculations could be made, but I prefer a variation on a much-used analogy. Picture a gorilla (very long arms are needed) at an immense keyboard connected to a word processor. The keyboard contains not only the symbols used in English and European languages but also a huge excess drawn from every other known language and all of the symbol sets stored in a typical computer. The chances for the spontaneous assembly of a replicator in the pool I described above can be compared to those of the gorilla composing, in English, a coherent recipe for the preparation of chili con carne. With similar considerations in mind, Gerald F. Joyce of the Scripps Research Institute and Leslie Orgel of the Salk Institute concluded that the spontaneous appearance of RNA chains on the lifeless Earth ‘would have been a near miracle.’ I would extend this conclusion to all of the proposed RNA substitutes that I mentioned above.””Nobel Laureate Christian de Duve has called for ‘a rejection of improbabilities so incommensurably high that they can only be called miracles, phenomena that fall outside the scope of scientific inquiry.’ DNA, RNA, proteins and other elaborate large molecules must then be set aside as participants in the origin of life.“

What is left? Theories that “employ a thermodynamic rather than a genetic definition of life, under a scheme put forth by Carl Sagan in the Encyclopedia Britannica: A localized region which increases in order (decreases in entropy) through cycles driven by an energy flow would be considered alive.””I estimate that about a third of the chemists involved in the study of the origin of life subscribe to theories based on this idea.”

“There Is One Truth! Jesus!”

Since: Jan 09

Location hidden

#5 Feb 28, 2010
(continued from above)
It requires:“1) A boundary… to separate life from non-life.””2) An energy source”.”3) A coupling mechanism must link the release of energy to the organization process that produces and sustains life. The release of energy does not necessarily produce a useful result. Chemical energy is released when gasoline is burned within the cylinders of my automobile, but the vehicle will not move unless that energy is used to turn the wheels. A mechanical connection, or coupling, is required.””4) A chemical network must be formed, to permit adaptation and evolution”“on a path that leads to increased organization.””5) The network must grow and reproduce.””We can imagine, on the early Earth, a situation where many startups of this type occur, involving many alternative driver reactions and external energy sources. Finally, a particularly hardy one would take root and sustain itself.””A system of reproduction must eventually develop.””Once independent units were established, they could evolve in different ways and compete with one another for raw materials; we would have made the transition from life that emerges from nonliving matter through the action of an available energy source to life that adapts to its environment by Darwinian evolution.””Many further steps in evolution would be needed to ‘invent’ the elaborate mechanisms for replication and specific protein synthesis that we observe in life today.” They “would not reveal the specific events that led to the familiar DNA-RNA-protein-based organisms of today.”

“Systems of the type I have described usually have been classified under the heading ‘metabolism first’, which implies that they do not contain a mechanism for heredity. In other words, they contain no obvious molecule or structure that allows the information stored in them (their heredity) to be duplicated and passed on to their descendants.””Over the years, many theoretical papers have advanced particular metabolism first schemes, but relatively little experimental work has been presented in support of them.””They have not yet demonstrated the operation of a complete cycle or its ability to sustain itself and undergo further evolution. A ’smoking gun’ experiment displaying those three features is needed to establish the validity of the small molecule approach.”

Shapiro, Robert. June 2007. A Simpler Origin for Life. Scientific American, Vol. 296, pp. 24-31.
Robert Shapiro, Ph.D. Harvard, is professor emeritus of chemistry and senior research scientist at New York University. He is author or co-author of over 125 publications, primarily in the area of DNA chemistry. In 2004 he was awarded the Trotter Prize in Information, Complexity and Inference. Shapiro has been involved in the search for origin of life mechanisms, and has written four books on the subject for the general public.
http://jasmine71.wordpress.com/2009/03/23/deb...
The Dude

Birkenhead, UK

#6 Mar 1, 2010
Interesting. Something for you to remember: evolution does not rely on abiogenesis. Evolution does not rely on abiogenesis.

Now repeat it, over and over. Cuz apparently I friggin have to.

Now Shapiro doesn't actually seem to be a pseudo-scientist and simply thinks that abio happened in a different manner to the RNA hypothesis, his beef does not in fact seem to be with evolution. Your source however (and you too presumably, since you do think your source is qualified to speak on the subject), is another matter.

SO. If evolution is incorrect then can you please tell us what "scientific alternative" does a better job of explaining the evidence better?

“Shaggin' Wagon.”

Since: Apr 09

Springfield, MA

#7 Mar 1, 2010
Xcaliber wrote:
What nonsense! And scientists are jumping up and down like little girls at a slumber party.
More junk science!
These are simply scientist who refuse to abandon the replicating RNA nonsense that has been abandoned long about by many scientists.
<quoted text>
And then you go and misrepresent the Miller experiments which (by the way) wasn't the last experiment performed. Example:
" http://www.springerlink.com/content/84453m146... ;
-
As for your glib dismissal of "replicating RNA" ......." http://www.physorg.com/news160231764.html&quo... ;. Please, explain to me how you think you could bring that pile of lies here and not get called out? Good job!! You have reinforced my already overflowing knowledge that fundamentalists of all makes are lying fools.

“Shaggin' Wagon.”

Since: Apr 09

Springfield, MA

#8 Mar 1, 2010
Xcaliber wrote:
(continued from above)
<quoted text>
http://jasmine71.wordpress.com/2009/03/23/deb...
Oh yes, and my references are newer than yours.

“Shaggin' Wagon.”

Since: Apr 09

Springfield, MA

#9 Mar 1, 2010
http://www.physorg.com/news150739469.html
Automatic (ie self sufficient) RNA replication
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http://www.physorg.com/news12139.html
RNA to DNA conversion via spontaneous mutations
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http://www.physorg.com/news160231764.html
Spontaneously evolving and competing RNA
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http://www.physorg.com/news177945116.html
RNA spontaneously forming and polymerizing in plain water.
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http://www.physorg.com/news135522723.html
RNA controlling cell functions without a protein intermediary.
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So, we have RNA from nothing, evolving and self replicating RNA, RNA polymerization, RNA in vivo without proteins, and spontaneous conversions of RNA to DNA.

FYI pairing of AA with RNA is simple chemistry so proteins aren't a hurdle either. For something supposedly "abandoned by scientists" there sure is a lot of research and evidence to the contrary.

“Shaggin' Wagon.”

Since: Apr 09

Springfield, MA

#10 Mar 1, 2010
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/...
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Oh yeah, and experiments show metabolism didn't develop first.

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