What we know about the complexity of the cellular information storage, processing and retrieval mechanisms continues to increase exponentially, and at an unprecedented rate. Almost on a daily basis, new papers are published revealing the ingenuity of the elaborate mechanisms by which the cell processes information — processes and mechanisms that bespeak design and continue to elude explanation by Darwinian means. For how exactly could such a system – apparently, an irreducibly complex one – be accounted for in terms of traditional Darwinian selective pressure? A new paper has just been published in Molecular Cell, in which the researchers, Karginov et al. reported their discovery that messenger RNA (mRNA) can be targeted for destruction by several different molecules. According to Read More ›
Casey Luskin recently posted two blogs showing that textbooks still misuse Haeckel’s long-discredited embryo drawings when attempting to provide evidence for Darwinian evolution (see here and here). Luskin provided ample documentation to demonstrate that these drawings are still printed in some recent textbooks. Over at The Panda’s Thumb blog, apologists for Darwinian theory have defended (see here and here) Ernst Haeckel from the charge of fraud and have argued, albeit unconvincingly, that, in principle, the concept of recapitulation is a valid one.According to Nick Matzke: Haeckel didn’t ignore the differences in embryos in the earliest period just after fertilization (differences which are visually significant but mostly fairly trivial, due to the different amounts of yolk in different vertebrate eggs).
Scott F. Gilbert’s “Developmental Biology” (eighth edition) provides a stunning overview of the elegant biochemical mechanisms controlling the development of organismal form during ontogeny. The final section of the book, chapter 23 (“Developmental Mechanisms Of Evolutionary Change”) is devoted to a discussion of the new evolutionary synthesis, encompassing the new science of ‘evo devo’ (short hand for ‘evolutionary developmental biology’). The book even contains a short rebuttal directed at proponents of intelligent design and, in particular, Michael Behe.
A paper has just been published in Nature which uncovers a host of new coding-independent functions for pseudogene mRNAs, including a role in tumor regulation. More exciting is that Poliseno et al. describe an entirely new regulatory function of RNA. This stands in contrast to conventional wisdom which maintains that the only function of mRNAs is encoding for proteins. According to the abstract, The canonical role of messenger RNA (mRNA) is to deliver protein-coding information to sites of protein synthesis. However, given that microRNAs bind to RNAs, we hypothesized that RNAs could possess a regulatory role that relies on their ability to compete for microRNA binding, independently of their protein-coding function. As a model for the protein-coding-independent role of RNAs, Read More ›
Stephen C. Meyer, author of Signature in the Cell, makes another appearance (see the first here) on The 700 Club, this time for the show’s interactive web broadcast. In this interview, Meyer discusses the recent hype concerning Craig Venter’s claims to have produced artificial life. While praising the ingenuity of Venter’s research team, Meyer explains that Venter did not really succeed in producing artificial life at all. Rather, Venter’s team inserted a synthetically sequenced chromosome into a non-synthetic cell. The cell’s machinery was then able to successfully read the instructions on the chromosome and transform the cell into the specified organism. Meyer highlights the indispensability of rational deliberation — intelligent purposive design — in the sequencing of the one million Read More ›