Cell biology Intelligent Design

And now, the internet of cells

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From Monya Baker at Nature:

Yukiko Yamashita thought she knew the fruit-fly testis inside out. But when she carried out a set of experiments on the organ five years ago, it ended up leaving her flummoxed.

Her group had been studying how fruit flies maintain their sperm supply and had engineered certain cells involved in the process to produce specific sets of proteins. But instead of showing up in the engineered cells, some proteins seemed to have teleported to a different group of cells entirely.

But Richard Cheney, a cell biologist at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, is not ready to start revising the textbooks. Cheney has followed the field and at one point collaborated with Rustom’s PhD adviser. There’s no question that long, thin protrusions are popping up all over the place, he says. The question is, what are they doing — sending simple messages when cells reach out and touch each other, or opening a breach and facilitating wholesale transport? “I’d probably bet on contact-based signalling, where you don’t need very many copies of a molecule, as opposed to them acting like interstate highways,” he says. More.

Dr. Cheney raises an interesting question: What if it turns out that they do act like interstate highways? Will we be told that, despite a complexity that greatly exceeds the probability resources of the universe, the magic of natural selection evolves it all in a comparatively short time.

Darwinism is magic.

See also: Researcher: Genome not an unstructured strand but “a highly structured and meaningful design”

7 Replies to “And now, the internet of cells

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    If Yukiko Yamashita, who is a highly recognized biologist worldwide, admitted being confused by what she saw in her experiments, what could the rest of the biology researchers say?
    Humility will be a word of the day for the biology researchers in the days ahead as technological progress allows them to peek deeper into the elaborate cellular and molecular choreographies orchestrated within the biological systems.
    I look forward with increasing anticipation to reading future research papers describing new discoveries that confirm the complex functionally specified informational complexity within the biological systems.

  2. 2
    Dionisio says:

    “…some proteins seemed to have teleported to a different group of cells entirely…”
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    🙂

  3. 3
    Dionisio says:

    “Will we be told that, despite a complexity that greatly exceeds the probability resources of the universe, the magic of natural selection evolves it all in a comparatively short time.”?

    Of course! Why not?
    We just don’t understand evolution.
    🙂

  4. 4
    Dionisio says:

    “But Richard Cheney, a cell biologist at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, is not ready to start revising the textbooks.”

    That seems like a prudent decision, because anyway they’ll have to revise the textbooks over and over again as more discoveries are made in the near future, hence why bother? 🙂

  5. 5
    Dionisio says:

    Oops!

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  6. 6
    Dionisio says:

    Here’s a paper about Dr Richard Cheney’s research at UNC Chapel Hill:

    “The mechanisms by which Myo10 induces huge numbers of filopodia are still not very clear, and I’d like to figure this out.
    I’d also like to understand the functions and composition of the filopodial tip complex, although at this point it isn’t clear if the tip is a relatively stable structure or a set of proteins that independently localize there. I am particularly intrigued by the long range movements of Myo10 within filopodia that we term intrafilopodial motility.”

    “Imaging also allows one to appreciate the beauty of cell biology in a natural and intuitive way.”

    “…it is hard to beat the intellectual excitement of science, the thrill of discovery…”

    http://jcb.rupress.org/content/214/5/492.full

  7. 7
    Dionisio says:

    Maybe most biologists are reductionists by their undergrad education and graduate/postdoctoral training?

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