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So why aren’t the RNA OOL researchers in the running for the Nobel Prize?


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.

Amen, BA77. He's had worse... (which is true in this case) zweston
^^^ The Black Knight has spoken, "tis but a scratch" bornagain77
Nobel Prizes are typically awarded many years after the work being honored is completed and toward the end of careers. So, despite the chide from UD, we are looking a few years down the road for a Nobel for origin of life research. Someday it'll happen..... chuckdarwin
Yale’s Steven Novella Falls for Origin-of-Life Hype Brian Miller - March 24, 2022 Excerpt: Novella suggests that the system could over billions of years produce “something interesting.” But one does not need to guess its fate if it were transported back in time to the early earth. The researchers in a 2013 Nature Communications article describe exactly where the system heads if left on its own:
"Translation coupling increases the complexity of the replication scheme; therefore, the TcRR system becomes vulnerable to selfish or parasitic RNAs, which are continuously generated from genomic RNA by the deletion of the internal replicase-encoding region, while retaining the terminal region for replicase recognition. These small RNAs are selfish and parasitic in that they do not produce replicase but replicate rapidly because of their small size (typically 222 nucleotides), utilizing the already existing replicase, until genome replication is competitively inhibited (parasitic RNA replication in Fig. 1a)."
The purported increase in complexity corresponds to the production of nonfunctional RNAs that provide no benefit to a developing cell. Instead, they eventually shut down host RNA replication. The researchers could only sustain replication by separating the host and parasitic RNAs into their own microscale compartments. The isolation required a highly sophisticated experimental protocol that would have had no parallel on the early earth. In an ancient environment, any RNA replication system would have quickly crashed, and the RNA and proteins would have irreversibly degraded into simpler molecules (here, here). https://evolutionnews.org/2022/03/yales-steven-novella-falls-for-origin-of-life-hype/
At evolutionnews had a closer look at the experiment, Here you go
The investigators started with a 2125 nucleotide “host” RNA borrowed from a Qb virus. The host RNA encodes the amino acid sequence for one of the proteins in a complex called a Qb replicase. The replicase transcribes RNA meaning it uses RNA templates to create complementary RNA strands. The investigators also borrowed all the molecular machinery from modern cells required for translating RNA into proteins. The inventory of supplied translational components includes dozens of enzymes, 46 tRNAs, and ribosomes. The team encapsulated this “translation-coupled RNA replication (TcRR) system” in a cell-like compartment composed of a water-in-oil emulsion. The entire system had to be contained in a microscopic volume to ensure interaction between the translated replicase and the host RNA. The investigators implemented a meticulously orchestrated experimental protocol to drive RNA replication and protein translation for hundreds of cycles. The replicase transcribed the host RNA to create complementary strands. The replicase also transcribed the complementary strands to create copies of the host RNA. The translation system used the host RNA to manufacture the protein required to create the replicase. Transcription and translation were performed entirely by the supplied molecular machinery. https://evolutionnews.org/2022/03/fact-check-did-university-of-tokyo-researchers-explain-the-origin-of-life/
Darwinian cheaters from Japan.... basically, all the components for this experiment they took from other existing biological systems ... this absurd ... such a shame .... martin_r

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