It's alive!

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It's alive!

Post by ziggy on Sat May 22, 2010 3:19 pm

It's a very small cell that has been created — the mycoplasmas have the smallest genomes of any extant cells. It's not much, but this is a breakthrough comparable to Wöhler's synthesis of urea. That event was a revelation, because it broke the idea that organic chemicals were somehow special and incapable of synthesis from inorganic molecules. And that led to the establishment of the whole field of organic chemistry, and we all know how big and important that has become to our culture.

Venter's synthesis of a simple life form is like the synthesis of urea in that it has the potential to lead to some huge new possibilities. Get ready for it.

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Re: It's alive!

Post by SamCogar on Sun May 23, 2010 9:49 am

It is only ignorant people that think that the genome (DNA/RNA) of organic life forms were humongous chains of genetic material 6 billion years ago.

Genome size is measured in two ways: by weight, in picograms, and by base pairs, in millions of bases, or megabases. The human genome contains about 3,000 megabases, but only 1.5% of the genome actually codes for true genes. A chicken's genome contains about 1,300 megabases. A clam has about 3,200, as do mice. Some frogs clock in at 6,500 megabases, more than twice the size of the human genome. a ladybug has about 300 megabases. It is impossible to guess the genome size of an organism just by looking about it, unless you already have prior knowledge of the answer.

So, for humans that have 3,000 megabases, but only 1.5% of them actually codes for true genes, that is only 45 megabases.

So, in 6+- billion years, our genome has acculumated 2,955 megabases that are unnecessary as far as we know as of now.

And if one keeps reducing that 45 megabases down to the simplest form that can "reproduce itself" then that would surely be a wee, wee small number for the "first ever" life form.

One should remember that there is "magic" in some chemical reactions, and the "magician" is a catalyst.

catalyst : •(chemistry) a substance that initiates or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected


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