Navigation Links
Evolution still scientifically stable
Date:9/14/2009

An international team of researchers, including Monash University biochemists, has discovered evidence at the molecular level in support of one of the key tenets of Darwin's theory of evolution.

Monash University's Professor Trevor Lithgow said the breakthrough, funded by the Australian Research Council and published recently in the prestigious journal PNAS, provides a blueprint for a general understanding of the evolution of the "machinery" of our cells.

"Our cells, and the cells of all organisms, are composed of molecular machines. These machines are built of component parts, each of which contributes a partial function or structural element to the machine. How such sophisticated, multi-component machines could evolve has been somewhat mysterious, and highly controversial." Professor Lithgow said.

A non-Darwinian explanation, from believers of Intelligent Design, proposed these complex machines to be "irreducibly complex". In other words they are so neatly complex and complete that they couldn't have evolved but rather must have been designed by an intelligent entity.

"Our research shows that these machines although complete and complex, were a result of evolution. Simple ''core'' machines were established in the first eukaryotes by drawing on pre-existing proteins that had previously provided distinct, simplistic functions. They therefore stand as proof that Darwin's theory of evolution breaks down at the molecular level," Professor Lithgow said.

As a model system, the research focussed on one specific molecular machine, the TIM complex, which transports proteins into mitochondria. Mitochondria are a compartment of human cells that serve as the energy-producing 'powerhouses'. At a very early stage in evolution, mitochondria were derived from bacteria that lived within the first eukaryotic cells.

"Our cells literally are chimeras of a "host" cell and these intracellular bacteria. Yet bacteria don't have TIM complexes to understand where the TIM complex came from we simply applied scientific reasoning and looked at a modern-day bacterium akin to the organism that gave rise to mitochondria." Professor Lithgow said.

The group looked at the bacterium Caulobacter crescentus and found bacterial proteins related to the components of the mitochondrial TIM complex. They then showed that these bacterial proteins are not found as part of protein transport machines.

"Franois Jacob described evolution as a tinkerer, cobbling together proteins of one function to yield more complex machines capable of new functions." Professor Lithgow said.

"Our work describes a perfect example of Jacob's proposition, and shows that Darwin's theory of evolution beautifully explains how molecular machines came to be."


'/>"/>

Contact: Samantha Blair
Samantha.Blair@adm.monash.edu.au
61-399-034-841
Monash University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Evolution is driven by gene regulation
2. Clones on task serve greater good, evolutionary study shows
3. Adaptation to parasites drive African fishes along different evolutionary paths
4. Uncertainty drives the evolution of cooperative breeding in birds
5. Structure of 450 million year old protein reveals evolutions steps
6. Scientists retrace evolution with first atomic structure of an ancient protein
7. Hidden interactions between predators and prey: evolution causes cryptic dynamics in ecology
8. Migrating squid drove evolution of sonar in whales and dolphins, researchers argue
9. Old developmental pathways spawn revolutionary evolutionary changes
10. Systems Biology poised to revolutionize the understanding of cell function and disease
11. Using evolution, UW team creates a template for many new therapeutic agents
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/22/2016)... 22, 2016   Acuant , the ... solutions, has partnered with RightCrowd ® ... Visitor Management, Self-Service Kiosks and Continuous Workforce ... add functional enhancements to existing physical access ... venues with an automated ID verification and ...
(Date:6/20/2016)... 20, 2016 Securus Technologies, a leading ... for public safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring announced ... it has secured the final acceptance by all ... Managed Access Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, Securus will ... be installed by October, 2016. MAS distinguishes between ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... June 9, 2016  Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud ... work hours, for employers to make sure the right employees are actually signing in, ... ... ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BIOREM Inc. (TSX-V: BRM) ... advised by its major shareholders, Clean Technology Fund I, ... United States based venture capital funds which ... Biorem (on a fully diluted, as converted basis), that ... of their entire equity holdings in Biorem to TUS ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Cancer experts ... they believe could be a new and helpful biomarker for malignant pleural mesothelioma. ... here to read it now. , Biomarkers are components in the blood, ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Newly created 4Sight Medical Solutions ... healthcare market. The company's primary focus is on new product introductions, to include ... are necessary to help companies efficiently bring their products to market. , The ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016  Liquid Biotech ... the funding of a Sponsored Research Agreement with ... tumor cells (CTCs) from cancer patients.  The funding ... CTC levels correlate with clinical outcomes in cancer ... data will then be employed to support the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: