Navigation Links
Evolution still scientifically stable

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
Monash University

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:
(Date:11/10/2015)... 10, 2015  In this report, the ... of product, type, application, disease indication, and ... report are consumables, services, software. The type ... biomarkers, efficacy biomarkers, and validation biomarkers. The ... diagnostics development, drug discovery and development, personalized ...
(Date:11/2/2015)... 2015  SRI International has been awarded a contract ... services to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) PREVENT Cancer ... expertise, modern testing and support facilities, and analytical instrumentation ... toxicology studies to evaluate potential cancer prevention drugs. ... Cancer Drug Development Program is an NCI-supported pipeline to ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015  Connected health pioneer, ... the explosion of technology-enabled health and wellness, and the ... book, The Internet of Healthy Things ... or smartphones even existed, Dr. Kvedar, vice president, Connected ... health care delivery, moving care from the hospital or ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015  Asia-Pacific (APAC) holds the ... (CRO) market. The trend of outsourcing to low-cost ... but higher volume share for the region in ... however, margins in the CRO industry will improve. ... ( ), finds that the market ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015 Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: HALO ... New York on Wednesday, December 2 at ... , president and CEO, will provide a corporate overview. ... at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT . ... will provide a corporate overview. --> th Annual ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... year and one of the premier annual events for pharmaceutical manufacturing: 2015 Annual ... November 2015, where ISPE hosted the largest number of attendees in more than ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , November 24, 2015 ... new market research report "Oligonucleotide Synthesis Market by Product ... (PCR, Gene Synthesis, Diagnostic, DNA, RNAi), End-User (Research, Pharmaceutical ... published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to reach ... in 2015, at a CAGR of 10.1% during the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: