Biologists Attempt to Create New Forms of Life

on September 13, 2008
Featured in News to Know

They may not resemble Dr. Frankenstein’s monster, but will the creations of molecular biologist Jack Szostak escape the lab and run wild—or just in the minds of evolutionists?

A team led by Szostak, himself of the Harvard Medical School, is doing its best to construct simple cell models that, WIRED magazine explains, “can almost be called life.” In reality, the cells are lipid bubbles containing bits of replicating nucleic acids. WIRED’s Alexis Madrigal writes:

Szostak said in a phone interview. “What we can do now is copy a limited set of simple [genetic] sequences, but we need to be able to copy arbitrary sequences so that sequences could evolve that do something useful.”

By doing “something useful” for the cell, these genes would launch the new form of life down the Darwinian evolutionary path similar to the one that our oldest living ancestors must have traveled. Though where selective pressure will lead the new form of life is impossible to know.

For now, however, the cells are unable to do much of anything: “[t]he replication isn't wholly autonomous,” according to the article, and the team must use pre-existing fatty molecules and borrow from existing life to get the nucleic acids.

Of course, building an even very primitive functioning “cell” (if it can be done) is no easy task. Madrigal explains that the “life” Szostak is working on is nowhere near as complex as existing life: “Modern life is far more complex than the simple systems that Szostak and others are working on,” she writes, adding that Szostak’s “protocells don't look anything like the cells that we have in our bodies.” She continues:

Modern cells accomplish this feat [moving/organizing materials] with an immense amount of molecular machinery. In fact, some of the chemical syntheses that simple plants and algae can accomplish far outstrip human technologies. Even the most primitive forms of life possess protein machines that allow them to import nutrients across their complex cell membranes and build the molecules that then carry out the cell's bidding.

Those specialized components would have taken many, many generations to evolve . . . so the first life would have been much simpler.

Some evolutionists . . . are giving up hope that we’ll ever know what (allegedly) spawned the first life.

As is evident, scientists run into by-faith stories about the origin of life when trying to justify and devise how to create such simple life forms. Madrigal breaks up the entire line of evolutionary origin-of-life research by pointing out, “The entire line of research, though, begs the question: where would DNA, or any other material carrying instructions for replication, have come from?”

Meanwhile, some evolutionists—such as University of California–San Diego chemist Jeffrey Bada—are giving up hope that we’ll ever know what (allegedly) spawned the first life. “[The researchers’] point, and how we all view it, is that it’s a nice model, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it happened that way,” Madrigal reports him as saying.

Madrigal concludes her article by pointing out that if the Szostak team succeeds in creating artificial life, “human beings, ourselves the product of evolution from the most primitive organisms, would have created an alternative path to imbuing matter with the properties of life,” since other models for the origin of life have inorganic molecules as the “container,” rather than organic fatty acid membranes.

So, our conclusion on this research: evolutionary scientists are trying to intelligently design (but as of yet haven’t succeeded) a self-replicating organism nowhere near as complex as actual (extant) life via chemicals and mechanisms that are not agreed upon in the hopes that it will somehow prove their by-faith hypotheses about how a less-complex-than-real-life organism could have, maybe, given rise to life as we know it (or not) through millions of years of accidental mutation. And—even though we will never know how it “really happened,” we should take this as proof that such origin of life stories are superior to the Bible’s clear account in Genesis?

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