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Yonath on “ingeniously designed” ribosome? Everyone tells us she didn’t mean it …

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At Evolution News & Views Casey Luskin notes that “Nobel Prize Winner Cites the ‘Ingeniously Designed’ Architecture of the Ribosome” (February 20, 2012). Everyone hastens to assure us that she doesn’t mean it … .

The available three dimensional structures of the bacterial ribosome and their subunits show that in each of the two subunits the ribosomal proteins are entangled within the complex rRNA conformation, thus maintaining a striking dynamic architecture that is ingeniously designed for their functions: precise decoding; substrate mediated peptide-bond formation and efficient polymerase activity.

(See Ada Yonath, “Supervisor’s Foreword,” in Chen Davidovich, Targeting Functional Centers of the Ribosome, p. vii (Springer-Verlag, 2011) (emphasis added).)

But they couldn’t take the 2009 Prize away from her anyway, could they? The most they could do is edit the phrase out or gloss it in the next edition of the book. When a lot of people already know.

7 Replies to “Yonath on “ingeniously designed” ribosome? Everyone tells us she didn’t mean it …

  1. 1
    Jon Garvey says:

    Here’s a challenge: can someone be helpful by rewording it in totally non-teleological language? A Nobel Prize for the best…

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Here is a video that was put out by Yonath’s group;

    Ribosome animation – video

    Honors to Researchers Who Probed Atomic Structure of Ribosomes – Robert F. Service
    Excerpt: “The ribosome’s dance, however, is more like a grand ballet, with dozens of ribosomal proteins and subunits pirouetting with every step while other key biomolecules leap in, carrying other dancers needed to complete the act.”

    Nobel Prize In Chemistry: What Ribosomes Look Like And How They Function At Atomic Level – 2009

    A few more videos and a note on the ‘Ingeniously Designed’ ribosome:

    The Ribosome: Perfectionist Protein-maker Trashes Errors
    Excerpt: The enzyme machine that translates a cell’s DNA code into the proteins of life is nothing if not an editorial perfectionist…the ribosome exerts far tighter quality control than anyone ever suspected over its precious protein products… To their further surprise, the ribosome lets go of error-laden proteins 10,000 times faster than it would normally release error-free proteins, a rate of destruction that Green says is “shocking” and reveals just how much of a stickler the ribosome is about high-fidelity protein synthesis. /090107134529.htm

    Molecular Machine – Ribosome – video

    Protein Synthesis – Vuk Nikolic 3-D artist – Protein Translation – video

    Programming of Life – Protein Synthesis – video

    Journey Inside The Cell – Stephen Meyer – video

    Verse and music:

    Psalm 139:13
    ,,,you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

    Ribosome Song

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Correction, the video/animation is ‘based on’ work from Yonath’s group;

  4. 4
    SCheesman says:

    Jon Garvey:

    Here’s a challenge: can someone be helpful by rewording it in totally non-teleological language? A Nobel Prize for the best…

    Actually, the rules to do this are well-know and relatively simple, for instance:

    “… a striking dynamic architecture that evolved over millions of years”

    “… has evolved a striking dynamic architecture.”

    I must decline the Nobel… one has to be original, I think.

  5. 5
    Jon Garvey says:


    You’ll have to get rid of the architecture, I’m afraid. Dictionary definition: “science of building”. Etymology: “that which is panned and made by an arch builder.”

    Sorry – you don’t get to turn down the Nobel.

  6. 6
    Axel says:

    There was a very simple, completely straightforward way around that unfortunate ‘mot pas’ for Yonath. They are verbs that cry out to be coined:

    ‘… most intricately randomed/haphazarded’

  7. 7
    Robert Byers says:

    Well hopefully this does help in health or just in knowledge.
    Yes everything is wonderfully made and looks like what it would if it was made.
    A prediction.
    Israel eh. ?
    This is because 3 billion dollars and more help goes to such a small country.
    the money should stay in america because it would go further in research and the credit should go to those paying the bill.
    Without American peoples money they couldn’t afford reserach and Americans could have more.
    It takes away the fun of Nobel prizes.
    Why not finance China/ lots of them and they like science stuff.
    Off thread but it sticks in the ribosome’s.

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