Biology Genetics Intelligent Design Physics

Rob Sheldon: Biologists’ use of the term “half-life” shows just how tenuous many of their propositions really are

Recently, our physics color commentator Rob Sheldon took issue with the use of the term “half-life” to describe the survival of DNA in fossils. He says the term has a specific meaning with respect to radioactive decay that just does not apply to other events in nature. In the biology paper at issue, with “half-life” Read More…

Biology Evolution Intelligent Design Physics

Does DNA really have a “half life”? Physicist Rob Sheldon is skeptical

Sheldon: “As a physicist, I would like to point out that biologists are misusing the word “half-life”. DNA does NOT have a half-life of 521 years. Radioisotopes have a half-life, because the nucleus is unstable to natural decay through the weak force (for isotopes of interest).” He goes on to say that the weak force of the universe “is unaffected by temperature, pressure, time, or chemicals.” Not so for DNA.

Cell biology Genetics Intelligent Design

At New Scientist: “single-celled organism that lacks most of the molecular equipment needed to kick-start DNA replication”

It’s a protist? “Protists are a group of loosely connected, mostly unicellular eukaryotic organisms that are not plants, animals or fungi. There is no single feature such as evolutionary history or morphology common to all these organisms and they are unofficially placed under a separate kingdom called Protista.” In short, just the sort of life form that might be doing something really different. Because nature is full of intelligence, there are probably many alternative programs out there. It all didn’t just somehow happen randomly once.

Cell biology Genomics Intelligent Design

Archaea microbes have genes like flexible slinkies

They were only discovered in 1977 and they get more unusual all the time: Microbes called archaea package their genetic material into flexible shapes that flop open in unusual ways, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator Karolin Luger reports March 2, 2021, in the journal eLife. “Very much to our surprise, we found that these Read More…

Genetics Intelligent Design

Sequencing oldest DNA ever from mammoths provides a window into limits on recovering DNA

At Smithsonian Magazine: That Mammuthus columbi originated as a new species, born of a hybridization event, “has major implications for our understanding of the population structure of Pleistocene megabeasts,” MacPhee says. The ancestors of the woolly mammoth and the Krestova mammoth had diverged from each other for about a million years before a population produced a hybrid that was different from both, giving rise to Mammuthus columbi.