By R. L. David Jolly
The more we study living organisms and what makes them work, the more convinced I am as a biologist that we are indeed the products of an infinitely wise Creator God. One of my favorite classes in graduate school was Molecular Cell Biology. To see the amazing and intricate detail of the molecular mechanisms of living cells makes me wonder how anyone could believe that it’s all the product of pure random chance.
The more you study the tiniest details of living things, the more you will realize that absolutely nothing is left to chance. Nothing just floats around in our cells like I was first taught in high school biology. First a tiny piece of food is identified by molecules outside the cell. If the cell signals that it wants the food particle, it is allowed to enter the cell where it is transported along microtubules to its needed location. It is then processed into energy which is carefully distributed to the necessary parts in the cell and whatever is left as waste, is packaged and transported back to the cell membrane to be discarded back into the blood stream.
One of the areas of great detail and marvel is how cells use DNA as a computer language to run the whole show. We’ve seen how DNA codes for thousands of different proteins and enzymes and how it is unzipped, replicated and re-zipped when the cell divides. While it sounds simple, it is a very complicated process that involves numerous other molecules and structures to perform this miracle.
Recently, a team of scientists from Oxford University discovered some new pieces to the DNA puzzle that just add to the awesomeness of it all. Mark Leake (Department of Physics) and David Sherratt (Department of Biochemistry) joined forces to lead their teams in the study. Their goal was to target and understand how one group of molecular machines called Structural Maintenance of Chromosomes (SMC) complexes, worked with the DNA.
The first thing they did was to develop their own light microscopy technology. Next they developed a method to place a fluorescent tag on the SMC to make them visible under the magnification of the microscope. The SMC they targeted is known as MukBEF found in E. coli bacteria.
They discovered that the SMC moved along the DNA much like a rock climber ascending his way up the face of a cliff as described by co-team leader Leake:
Each machine functions in much the same way as rock-climber clinging to a cliff face, it has one end anchored to a portion of cellular DNA while the other end opens and closes randomly by using chemical energy stored in a ubiquitous bio-molecule called adenosine triphosphate, or ‘ATP’: the universal molecular fuel for all living cells.
This opening and closing action of the machine is essentially a process of mechanical ‘grabbing’, in which it attempts to seize more free DNA, like the rock-climber searching for a new handhold.
Not only is this a fascinating discovery, but it adds to the overwhelming evidence that every living thing is so intricately and precisely designed that there can only be one explanation for our origins and that is Almighty God. After all, someone please convince me that these SMC complexes just randomly popped into existence to perform their very specific job. Then further convince me that the hundreds of other molecular machines in living cells also just popped into existence by random chance into to carry out each of their specific jobs as well. It’s hard enough to believe that just one of them could have evolved, but when you look at the myriad of similar molecular structures and consider the chances of all of them evolving by chance, the odds are virtually zero.
Like I said, there can only be one answer – an all knowing infinitely wise Creator God.
Laser Spotlight Reveals Machine ‘Climbing’ DNA, Science Daily, Oct. 26, 2012.
This presentation was given live to some 2000 people, many of them students, at South Africas renowned university town of Stellenbosch. Afterwards, 30 university students came forward to publically profess faith in Christ. Its clear that in this age of science and technology, we need to deal with the evolution issue head-on, from an unashamedly biblical standpoint. (Illustrated presentation, including English subtitles)