Oil-droplets mimic early life

n-th Clue to the origin of life

The accumulation of small heritable changes within populations over time.

Moderators: Calilasseia, amok, ADParker

Oil-droplets mimic early life

#1  Postby natselrox » Feb 23, 2011 2:25 pm

http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110223/ ... s=news_rss


Oil droplets that creep purposefully through their watery environment, metabolize fuel, sense their surroundings and perhaps even replicate — could these be precursors to life? That's the claim of a chemist with a controversial approach to modelling how Earth's first organisms scraped themselves together.

...
When in perplexity, read on.

"A system that values obedience over curiosity isn’t education and it definitely isn’t science"
User avatar
natselrox
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 10034
Age: 102
Male

India (in)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Oil-droplets mimic early life

#2  Postby Evolving » Feb 23, 2011 3:02 pm

That is most interesting.


But biochemists argue that the lack of genetic information in the droplets means that they would never develop into anything more complex...

Hanczyc disagrees. "I think you will get quite complex structures," he says. "You don't have DNA or RNA, but the necessary information is embedded in the chemistry of the system." Characteristics would be passed to daughter droplets on division, though he concedes that without being formally encoded, these would be dependent on the environment, and could easily be lost.



That does make sense to me, in principle (not that I am qualified to judge it). Like the self-replicating clay structures that Dawkins described, I think in Watchmaker, what you need to start evolution off is something that replicates itself and passes on its own characteristics, at least with a certain minimum degree of reliability. If you have something that does that, whether it be oil droplets or something else, one can imagine it accumulating more and more characteristics that replicate, and starting to develop something that can be described as "genetic information".

Does that make sense? Any biochemists reading?

(edited to correct spelling)
Last edited by Evolving on Feb 23, 2011 3:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
How extremely stupid not to have thought of that - T.H. Huxley
User avatar
Evolving
 
Name: Olving
Posts: 6176

Country: United Kingdom
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: Oil-droplets mimic early life

#3  Postby natselrox » Feb 23, 2011 3:08 pm

Makes perfect sense to me.
When in perplexity, read on.

"A system that values obedience over curiosity isn’t education and it definitely isn’t science"
User avatar
natselrox
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 10034
Age: 102
Male

India (in)
Print view this post

Re: Oil-droplets mimic early life

#4  Postby Nautilidae » Feb 23, 2011 3:19 pm

Great find! I'm posting it to Facebook as soon as I finish typing this. :popcorn:
User avatar
Nautilidae
RS Donator
 
Posts: 3867
Age: 20
Male

Country: United States
United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: Oil-droplets mimic early life

#5  Postby GrahamH » Feb 23, 2011 3:43 pm

Interesting, but not very life-like. \he needs to show growth and replication.
Why do you think that?
GrahamH
 
Posts: 9527

Print view this post

Re: Oil-droplets mimic early life

#6  Postby HughMcB » Feb 23, 2011 3:48 pm

n-th Clue to the origin of life?

Great so now there are two gaps where there was previously just one!

Creationists 1 - Evilushionists 0 :dance:

/sarcasm



Good find Nats. :thumb:
"Call Kenny Loggins...'cuz you're in the Danger Zone" - Archer
User avatar
HughMcB
RS Donator
 
Posts: 18393
Age: 30
Male

Country: Canada
Ireland (ie)
Print view this post

Re: Oil-droplets mimic early life

#7  Postby Evolving » Feb 23, 2011 3:49 pm

Replication he thinks he has:

Characteristics would be passed to daughter droplets on division, though he concedes that without being formally encoded, these would be dependent on the environment, and could easily be lost.


Growth would, perhaps, come later, once replication has become a bit more reliable.

He wants to show how the process could have started: obviously it's a long way from there to anything like "life as we know it"!
How extremely stupid not to have thought of that - T.H. Huxley
User avatar
Evolving
 
Name: Olving
Posts: 6176

Country: United Kingdom
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Oil-droplets mimic early life

#8  Postby GrahamH » Feb 23, 2011 4:36 pm

The PH gradient propulsion reminds me of a soap boat.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5u8ED8d6qb0[/youtube]
Why do you think that?
GrahamH
 
Posts: 9527

Print view this post

Re: Oil-droplets mimic early life

#9  Postby Evolving » Feb 23, 2011 4:50 pm

OK, he hasn't actually demonstrated replication yet, but he thinks he might be able to:

And the team is working on creating instabilities within the droplets that cause them to self-divide — with subsequent feeding or fusion, that might lead to a primitive replication cycle.


And, GrahamH, you are obviously right that the droplets, having divided, would need to grow back to more or less their old size: we can't have each generation being half the size of its parent.
How extremely stupid not to have thought of that - T.H. Huxley
User avatar
Evolving
 
Name: Olving
Posts: 6176

Country: United Kingdom
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: Oil-droplets mimic early life

#10  Postby Rumraket » Feb 23, 2011 5:13 pm

The fundamental question is : Can they evolve?
"When inventing a god, the most important thing is to claim it is invisible, inaudible and imperceptible in every way. Otherwise, people will become skeptical when it appears to no one, is silent and does nothing." - Anonymous
User avatar
Rumraket
 
Posts: 9358
Age: 33
Male

Denmark (dk)
Print view this post

Re: Oil-droplets mimic early life

#11  Postby Evolving » Feb 23, 2011 5:18 pm

Rumraket wrote:The fundamental question is : Can they evolve?


"Can": presumably yes, I would say, if they can replicate (in principle) indefinitely and with sufficient resemblance between parent and daughter generation. "Will": not necessarily, because the vagaries of fortune might snuff out any such cycle before it developed into something more complex.
How extremely stupid not to have thought of that - T.H. Huxley
User avatar
Evolving
 
Name: Olving
Posts: 6176

Country: United Kingdom
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: Oil-droplets mimic early life

#12  Postby Animavore » Feb 23, 2011 5:29 pm

This is all very interesting, of course, but they still need and intelligent creator.

*kicks pieces and shits on the board*
With regard to heretics two points must be observed (heretic and Church).. On their own side there is the sin, whereby they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death.

- Aquinas.
User avatar
Animavore
 
Name: The Scribbler
Posts: 28356
Age: 35
Male

Ireland (ie)
Print view this post

Re: Oil-droplets mimic early life

#13  Postby Calilasseia » Feb 23, 2011 6:23 pm

Now here's an interesting thought. Can these oil droplets encapsulate an RNA ligase ribozyme? Because if they can, that opens up another possibility for early protocell formation, though how we get from that to a phospholipid-encapsulation model of the sort Szostak is working on remains to be demonstrated.
Signature temporarily on hold until I can find a reliable image host ...
User avatar
Calilasseia
Moderator
 
Posts: 16659
Age: 52
Male

Country: England
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: Oil-droplets mimic early life

#14  Postby natselrox » Feb 23, 2011 6:26 pm

Let's get the original papers and then bomb the author with questions! :D
When in perplexity, read on.

"A system that values obedience over curiosity isn’t education and it definitely isn’t science"
User avatar
natselrox
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 10034
Age: 102
Male

India (in)
Print view this post

Re: Oil-droplets mimic early life

#15  Postby jaydot » Feb 24, 2011 10:17 am

fascinating stuff. :coffee:
User avatar
jaydot
 
Posts: 1648

Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Oil-droplets mimic early life

#16  Postby tnjrp » Feb 24, 2011 10:26 am

natselrox wrote:Let's get the original papers and then bomb the author with questions! :D
Or threaten to until he comes over here and explains himself!
The dog, the dog, he's at it again!
tnjrp
 
Posts: 3587
Age: 49
Male

Finland (fi)
Print view this post

Re: Oil-droplets mimic early life

#17  Postby Evolving » Feb 24, 2011 10:29 am

tnjrp wrote:
natselrox wrote:Let's get the original papers and then bomb the author with questions! :D
Or threaten to until he comes over here and explains himself!


Now there's a plan.
How extremely stupid not to have thought of that - T.H. Huxley
User avatar
Evolving
 
Name: Olving
Posts: 6176

Country: United Kingdom
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post


Return to Evolution & Natural Selection

Who is online

Users viewing this topic: No registered users and 1 guest