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NASA: Life is a master stenographer

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File:Tree of life SVG.svgSo whose dictation is it taking?

From ScienceDaily:

Looking Back 3.8 Billion Years Into the Root of the ‘Tree of Life’

NASA-funded researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are tapping information found in the cells of all life on Earth, and using it to trace life’s evolution. They have learned that life is a master stenographer — writing, rewriting and recording its history in elaborate biological structures.

Nw her is an interesting admission:

“The ribosome recorded its history,” said Williams. “It accreted and got bigger and bigger over time. But the older parts were continually frozen after they accreted, just like the rings of a tree. As long as that tree lives, the inner rings will not change. The very core of the ribosome is older than biology, produced by evolutionary processes that we still don’t understand very well.”

So we acknowledge that we still don’t understand them very well?

That’s partly because there is a lot going on in evolution that just wasn’t accepted. It wasn’t accepted because of the insistence that Darwinism (natural selection acting on random mutation generates huge levels of information, and thus is the single greatest idea anyone ever had.

In reality natural selection just means that not all life forms live to breed. That fact was somehow supposed to produce the complex genomic languages and livig machinery we see. And at the same time, prevent Boltzmann’s brain from randomly popping up anywhere.

Never mind, there is plenty of time to catch up. As long as we want to do science.

While the ribosomal core is the same across species, what’s added on top differs. Humans have the largest ribosome, encompassing some 7,000 nucleotides representing dramatic growth from the hundred or so base pairs at the beginning.

“What we’re talking about is going from short oligomers, short pieces of RNA, to the biology we see today,” said Williams. “The increase in size and complexity is mind-boggling.”

“The increase in size and complexity is mind-boggling”? Is sure is, if the stenographer is accepting dictation from no one. More.

See also: Tree of Life: Maybe biological classification is more of an art exhibition than a science purusit


What we know and don’t, about the origin of life

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Here’s the abstract:

We present a molecular-level model for the origin and evolution of the translation system, using a 3D comparative method. In this model, the ribosome evolved by accretion, recursively adding expansion segments, iteratively growing, subsuming, and freezing the rRNA. Functions of expansion segments in the ancestral ribosome are assigned by correspondence with their functions in the extant ribosome. The model explains the evolution of the large ribosomal subunit, the small ribosomal subunit, tRNA, and mRNA. Prokaryotic ribosomes evolved in six phases, sequentially acquiring capabilities for RNA folding, catalysis, subunit association, correlated evolution, decoding, energy-driven translocation, and surface proteinization. Two additional phases exclusive to eukaryotes led to tentacle-like rRNA expansions. In this model, ribosomal proteinization was a driving force for the broad adoption of proteins in other biological processes. The exit tunnel was clearly a central theme of all phases of ribosomal evolution and was continuously extended and rigidified. In the primitive noncoding ribosome, proto-mRNA and the small ribosomal subunit acted as cofactors, positioning the activated ends of tRNAs within the peptidyl transferase center. This association linked the evolution of the large and small ribosomal subunits, proto-mRNA, and tRNA. (paywall) Anton S. Petrov, Burak Gulen, Ashlyn M. Norris, Nicholas A. Kovacs, Chad R. Bernier, Kathryn A. Lanier, George E. Fox, Stephen C. Harvey, Roger M. Wartell, Nicholas V. Hud, and Loren Dean Williams. History of the ribosome and the origin of translation. PNAS, November 30, 2015 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1509761112 –

3 Replies to “NASA: Life is a master stenographer

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    In the primitive noncoding ribosome, proto-mRNA and the small ribosomal subunit acted as cofactors, positioning the activated ends of tRNAs within the peptidyl transferase center. This association linked the evolution of the large and small ribosomal subunits, proto-mRNA, and tRNA.

  2. 2
    tjguy says:

    Accurate dictation without a Dictator! Hmm.

    And a stenographer that mindlessly yet accurately records the dictation!

    Double Hmm!

  3. 3
    bornagain says:

    as to:

    “They have learned that life is a master stenographer — writing, rewriting and recording its history in elaborate biological structures.,,,
    “Biology is a great keeper of records,”,,,
    “We are figuring out how to read some of the oldest records in biology to understand pre-biological processes, the origin of life, and the evolution of life on Earth.”

    And figuring out what a virtual infinite number of monkeys wrote as they were building the typewriter, (i.e. the ribosome), is certainly not easy ! 🙂

    Dilbert – infinite monkeys – cartoon

    Infinite monkey theorem
    Excerpt: “One computer program run by Dan Oliver of Scottsdale, Arizona, according to an article in The New Yorker, came up with a result on August 4, 2004: After the group had worked for 42,162,500,000 billion billion monkey-years, one of the “monkeys” typed, “VALENTINE. Cease toIdor:eFLP0FRjWK78aXzVOwm)-‘;8.t” The first 19 letters of this sequence can be found in “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”. Other teams have reproduced 18 characters from “Timon of Athens”, 17 from “Troilus and Cressida”, and 16 from “Richard II”.[24]
    A website entitled The Monkey Shakespeare Simulator, launched on July 1, 2003, contained a Java applet that simulates a large population of monkeys typing randomly, with the stated intention of seeing how long it takes the virtual monkeys to produce a complete Shakespearean play from beginning to end. For example, it produced this partial line from Henry IV, Part 2, reporting that it took “2,737,850 million billion billion billion monkey-years” to reach 24 matching characters:

    RUMOUR. Open your ears; 9r”5j5&?OWTY Z0d…”

    Book Review – Meyer, Stephen C. Signature in the Cell. New York: HarperCollins, 2009.
    Excerpt: As early as the 1960s, those who approached the problem of the origin of life from the standpoint of information theory and combinatorics observed that something was terribly amiss. Even if you grant the most generous assumptions: that every elementary particle in the observable universe is a chemical laboratory randomly splicing amino acids into proteins every Planck time for the entire history of the universe, there is a vanishingly small probability that even a single functionally folded protein of 150 amino acids would have been created. Now of course, elementary particles aren’t chemical laboratories, nor does peptide synthesis take place where most of the baryonic mass of the universe resides: in stars or interstellar and intergalactic clouds. If you look at the chemistry, it gets even worse—almost indescribably so: the precursor molecules of many of these macromolecular structures cannot form under the same prebiotic conditions—they must be catalysed by enzymes created only by preexisting living cells, and the reactions required to assemble them into the molecules of biology will only go when mediated by other enzymes, assembled in the cell by precisely specified information in the genome.
    So, it comes down to this: Where did that information come from? The simplest known free living organism (although you may quibble about this, given that it’s a parasite) has a genome of 582,970 base pairs, or about one megabit (assuming two bits of information for each nucleotide, of which there are four possibilities). Now, if you go back to the universe of elementary particle Planck time chemical labs and work the numbers, you find that in the finite time our universe has existed, you could have produced about 500 bits of structured, functional information by random search. Yet here we have a minimal information string which is (if you understand combinatorics) so indescribably improbable to have originated by chance that adjectives fail.

    “Monkeys Typing Shakespeare” Simulation Illustrates Combinatorial Inflation Problem – October 2011
    Excerpt: In other words, Darwinian evolution isn’t going to be able to produce fundamentally new protein folds. In fact, it probably wouldn’t even be able to produce a single 9-character string of nucleotides in DNA, if that string would not be retained by selection until all 9 nucleotides were in place.


    Acts 3:15
    and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.

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