How did life begin? For those who reject the testimony of Genesis, the search is restricted to clues in nature.
One such clue is the minimum essentials required for growth and reproduction. If that number is small enough, then life might conceivably have formed by chance.
The 2008 documentary movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed presented 250 proteins as an estimated minimum required for cell function. The odds of that many forming by chance was equated to a man winning at a slot machine 250 consecutive times.
But the real odds are much more staggering. Molecular biologist Doug Axe said, “We’re talking about something that’s staggeringly improbable: roughly one in a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion.”1 Based on new research, Axe may have to quadruple those already impossible odds.
A team of biologists at the Stanford University School of Medicine employed a new method to estimate the minimum genetic information required for the survival of bacteria called Caulobacter crescentus, which are commonly used in labs. They used a novel technique that marked specific DNA mutations in surviving mutant bacteria. Then they mapped the Caulobacter genome to discover the areas that did not tolerate mutation.
The researchers found 480 essential protein-coding genes, plus 532 other essential regions, on the bacterial DNA, according to a Stanford press release.2 Most of those 532 regions regulate gene expression, 91 regions have unknown functions, and the remainder are genes of unknown but necessary function….
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