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Naturally Forming Crystal DNA

on December 1, 2007
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PhysOrg: “Liquid Crystal Phases of Tiny DNA Molecules Point up New Scenario for First Life on Earth The search for evidence for abiogenesis has uncovered a new “candidate”: DNA in liquid crystal phases that “self-orients” and stacks into columns.

A joint American–Italian project, whose research was published in the journal Science, discovered that “surprisingly short segments of DNA . . . could assemble into several distinct liquid crystal phases that ‘self-orient’ parallel to one another and stack into columns when placed in a water solution.”

Liquid crystals are organic material that have solid and liquid properties.

Liquid crystals are organic material that have solid and liquid properties. The organization was likened by one researcher to throwing spaghetti in a box and tossing it around, with the result that the spaghetti would be prone to orient itself in parallel.

One team member, University of Colorado–Boulder physicist Noel Clark, described how the scientists see such self-organization as making abiogenesis possible: “Our vision is that from the collection of ancient molecules, short RNA pieces or some structurally related precursor emerged as the molecular fragments most capable of condensing into liquid crystal droplets, selectively developing into long molecules.” The team discovered that complementary pairs of DNA segments six bases long could assemble themselves in liquid crystal phases by sticking together end to end.

“We found this to be a remarkable result,” Clark said. “It means that small molecules with the ability to pair up the right way can seek each other out and collect together into drops that are internally self-organized to facilitate the growth of larger pairable molecules.”

The research, while interesting, reveals the paucity of current models of abiogenesis. The key problem is that researchers are leaping beyond the fundamental question of how DNA came to signify anything at all. Even if chains can orient themselves in parallel, they would have to somehow (in Clark’s words) “spontaneously self-select, ‘chain-up’ and self-replicate.” Clark notes that this is essentially impossible by random chemical interactions, which is why the team is excited over the liquid crystal phenomenon. He also notes that the orientation and assemblage does not occur unless the DNA strands form helical duplexes. This research simply focuses on chemical interactions of DNA rather than attempting to explain the origin of DNA and the information it contains.

The question of how prebiotic chemicals came to, along with a myriad of other questions, have been left unanswered.

The question of how life could have originated naturally from a prebiotic chemical soup has plagued evolutionists since the idea was first proposed. While scientists claim breakthroughs from time to time (such as the vaunted Miller–Urey experiments), these breakthroughs demonstrate at most how a carefully concocted scenario—with elements detrimental to the formation of life removed—might result in a hodgepodge of prebiotic chemicals. But the question of how prebiotic chemicals came to, for example, “understand” DNA and self-replicate, along with a myriad of other questions, have been left unanswered.

Most evolutionists simply take it on faith that one day, we will figure out how life began—and even if we never do, they nonetheless would still have faith that abiogenesis happened. We aren’t knocking faith; we are simply pointing out that even “scientific” evolutionists have to place their faith somewhere. We, on the other hand, choose to put our faith in the God who was there.


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