If heady claims about making great gains in origin of life studies checked out?
The research paper itself avers, “These results support the capability of molecular replicators to spontaneously develop complexity through Darwinian evolution, a critical step for the emergence of life.”
If the scientists had accomplished such an astonishing feat, the team leads would almost certainly receive a Nobel Prize. So, did they accomplish it? Unfortunately, these claims do not even remotely resemble the reported experimental results.Brian Miller, “Fact Check: Did University of Tokyo Researchers Explain the Origin of Life?” at Evolution News and Science Today (March 22, 2022)
More like it:
What did the research team accomplish? The answer is nothing of significance. The investigators provided the machinery required to externally drive replication. The RNAs did not replicate either themselves or each other. Nor did they directly perform any biologically relevant function. The acquired mutations solely tweaked the translated replicases to perform their pre-existent function with different speeds on different host variants and nonfunctional RNAs, or they disabled the replicases. Only the numbers of variant RNAs and the speed of replication changed. The functional complexity of the system did not increase, and nothing novel emerged.
The experiment has no relevance to what could have transpired on the early earth (here, here, here). RNAs hundreds of nucleotides in length could not have formed. Even if they did, the probability that their sequences encoded a functional replicase is infinitesimal. And none of the components required for protein translation existed before the appearance of autonomous cells…Brian Miller, “Fact Check: Did University of Tokyo Researchers Explain the Origin of Life?” at Evolution News and Science Today (March 22, 2022)
When a story is the one people need to believe, they don’t ask for detailed demonstrations of how it could have happened that way. Chances are, they don’t even want them because then they would be responsible for knowing that it didn’t really happen.
The paper is open access.
You may also wish to read: OOL claim: RNA molecule develops complexity following Darwinian evolution. Bottom line: A lot of the machinery that supposedly spontaneously created complexity was in fact borrowed. We’re told that James Tour gets quite angry about what amounts to cheating in the claims about origin of life.