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Liquid crystal phases of tiny DNA molecules point up new scenario for first life on Earth

 
Anonymous Coward
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11/22/2007 11:44 PM
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Liquid crystal phases of tiny DNA molecules point up new scenario for first life on Earth
A team led by the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Milan has discovered some unexpected forms of liquid crystals of ultrashort DNA molecules immersed in water, providing a new scenario for a key step in the emergence of life on Earth.

CU-Boulder physics Professor Noel Clark said the team found that surprisingly short segments of DNA, life’s molecular carrier of genetic information, could assemble into several distinct liquid crystal phases that “self-orient” parallel to one another and stack into columns when placed in a water solution. Life is widely believed to have emerged as segments of DNA- or RNA-like molecules in a prebiotic “soup” solution of ancient organic molecules.

A paper on the subject was published in the Nov. 23 issue of Science. The paper was authored by Clark, Michi Nakata and Christopher Jones from CU-Boulder, Giuliano Zanchetta and Tommaso Bellini of the University of Milan, Brandon Chapman and Ronald Pindak of Brookhaven National Laboratory and Julie Cross of Argonne National Laboratory. Nakata died in September 2006.

Since the formation of molecular chains as uniform as DNA by random chemistry is essentially impossible, Clark said, scientists have been seeking effective ways for simple molecules to spontaneously self-select, “chain-up” and self-replicate. The new study shows that in a mixture of tiny fragments of DNA, those molecules capable of forming liquid crystals selectively condense into droplets in which conditions are favorable for them to be chemically linked into longer molecules with enhanced liquid crystal-forming tendencies, he said.

“We found that even tiny fragments of double helix DNA can spontaneously self-assemble into columns that contain many molecules,” Clark said. “Our vision is that from the collection of ancient molecules, short RNA pieces or some structurally related precursor emerged as the molecular fragments most capable of condensing into liquid crystal droplets, selectively developing into long molecules.”

more at link
[link to www.eurekalert.org]

Last Edited by SPUD on 10/16/2011 08:47 PM
Anonymous Coward
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11/23/2007 12:30 AM
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Re: Liquid crystal phases of tiny DNA molecules point up new scenario for first life on Earth
post
Anonymous Coward
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11/23/2007 12:38 AM
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Re: Liquid crystal phases of tiny DNA molecules point up new scenario for first life on Earth
Religous superstitious freakazoids aren't gonna like this.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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11/23/2007 03:42 PM
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Re: Liquid crystal phases of tiny DNA molecules point up new scenario for first life on Earth
bump
Thanatos

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11/23/2007 03:44 PM
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Re: Liquid crystal phases of tiny DNA molecules point up new scenario for first life on Earth
Religous superstitious freakazoids aren't gonna like this.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 330019


Relax. They aren't going to be able to understand a word of it :)
Rarrgh!
The Guy

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11/23/2007 09:30 PM
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Re: Liquid crystal phases of tiny DNA molecules point up new scenario for first life on Earth
Religous superstitious freakazoids aren't gonna like this.


Relax. They aren't going to be able to understand a word of it :)
 Quoting: Thanatos


Naw, I unnerstood it purdy good. This post just goes to show what a wonderful creation the human mind is. Yet another scenario has been found to show how life could have begun without divine intervention. Brilliant! But the only thing this proves is that short chains of RNA have the ability to self-assemble liquid crystal formations in a water solution. A lot of polymers can to that! It all comes down to worldviews and assumptions. Those who espouse evolution as the origin of life do so because they first assumed that a creator does not exist, and so are trying to find a way to explain our existence without a cause. Many ideas have been brought forward; many, like this one, very creative and well thought-out. But if you keep your mind closed, you only see the inside of your own head. This is true no matter which side of an issue you're on.
It's good to be open-minded, just don't let your brain fall out.
Anonymous Coward
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11/23/2007 11:38 PM
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Re: Liquid crystal phases of tiny DNA molecules point up new scenario for first life on Earth
Hmmm

Six bases with a complementary segment. Now throw in a gaggle of high-tech gagetry to nudge the "irreducibly complex" organism toward "rod building" and ouila, self-replicating DNA or RNA.

The fact is, this little experiment still cannot get beyond the irreducibly complex. You cannot take any one aspect and combine it with any other or even several others and still make it fly. It takes a perfect or near-perfect combination of elements along with perfect conditions (made perfect by the experimenters) to replicate (pun fully intended) what seems to happen in the real world. This, of course, is not even looking at it at the mitochondrial level. The complexity goes much deeper.

The irreducible complexity argument simply cannot be bridged here. They have a minimum number of elements that must exist before they can even carry on with their experiment (not to mention the intricate and complex intervention done by the scientists.)

I have to agree with The Guy. They are seeing only what they want to see and prove. They have actually MADE the case for creation. They cannot even create the original particles nor naturally allow them to come together in precisely the arrangement necessary for "growth". Of course, that will not stop them from trying. I love science. Science cannot prove or disprove spontaneous life by whatever form of reductionism they choose to use. They can never get to the "before" and are forever restrained to the "after". Nice try though.





GLP