Sunday, September 23, 2001

Are these scientists god? Or are they products of satan?

A team of biologists and chemists is closing in on bringing non-living matter to life.

It's not as Frankensteinian as it sounds. Instead, a lab led by Jack Szostak, a molecular biologist at Harvard Medical School, is building simple cell models that can almost be called life.

Szostak's protocells are built from fatty molecules that can trap bits of nucleic acids that contain the source code for replication. Combined with a process that harnesses external energy from the sun or chemical reactions, they could form a self-replicating, evolving system that satisfies the conditions of life, but isn't anything like life on earth now, but might represent life as it began or could exist elsewhere in the universe.

While his latest work remains unpublished, Szostak described preliminary new success in getting protocells with genetic information inside them to replicate at the XV International Conference on the Origin of Life in Florence, Italy, last week. The replication isn't wholly autonomous, so it's not quite artificial life yet, but it is as close as anyone has ever come to turning chemicals into biological organisms.

"We've made more progress on how the membrane of a protocell could grow and divide," Szostak said in a phone interview. "What we can do now is copy a limited set of simple [genetic] sequences, but we need to be able to copy arbitrary sequences so that sequences could evolve that do something useful."

By doing "something useful" for the cell, these genes would launch the new form of life down the Darwinian evolutionary path similar to the one that our oldest living ancestors must have traveled. Though where selective pressure will lead the new form of life is impossible to know.



Answer on Are these scientists god? Or are they products of satan?

Wow - Millions of dollars and thousands of hours of labor by the brightest minds of our times may be able to produce something that is not quite the life that we are told happened on earth by accident.......sigh.....

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Edit:
Acid Zebra - while you have me at being a dullard, I fear you miss the irony here.....

Your top 5 baby names?

What are your opinions on these names? These are my top 5 for boys and girls! Be completely honest, rate if you like! Oh and tell me your top 5!

Most detailed and informative gets best answer! :P

Boys:
Noah Elijah Beau
Reuben Aurelio John
Milo Jeremiah Drake
Gabriel Amadeo Jake
Josiah Emiliano Kai

Girls:
Serena Gisela Venae
Elena Leilani Fay
Holly Sophia Jasmin
Isobel Elenora Rae
Maisie Jade Sienna

Answer on Your top 5 baby names?

Honest is my middle name :D
So here it goes...
Boys:
Noah Elijah Beau-
9/10
Love this name! Beau is such a handsome name! Flows great in the name! If I were you I would change Elijah to Noah Elliot Beau.

Reuben Aurelio John-
6/10
This is nice! Certianly different... Not a bad name in the least! Love Reuben!

Milo Jeremiah Drake-
8/10
Milo is sweet :) Jeremiah is alright, LOVE Drake :)

Gabriel Amadeo Jake-
9/10
Gabriel is SO handsome! It's ages so well too! I'm not a fan of Amadeo, Jake is really cute!

Josiah Emiliano Kai-
4/10
Meh... I have heard better I have heard worse. I think Josiah is alright, Emiliano is an akward name, LOVE Kai!

Girls:
Serena Gisela Venae-
3/10
To be quite honest I hate this name, Serena sounds like it's Selena with a Chinese accent. Gisela is the best of the 3 names, certianly not my taste though. Venae is not my taste.

Elena Leilani Fay-
6/10
All the names are pretty, but Elena Leilani has too many L's it's like a tounge twister. Fay is just kinda there, but it's a nice name!

Holly Sophia Jasmin-
8/10
Honestly, I`m not keen on Holly, what if she`s born in the summer? Sophia is amazing! You will see it in my top 5 when I show you them! Jasmin is gorgeous!

Isobel Elenora Rae-
10/10
LOVE this name! Literally, I LOVE it, there is nothing negative I have to say about it.

Maisie Jade Sienna-
6/10
This is okay. LOVE Sienna. Maisie is cute.... more like on a cat though, I know 0 people names Maisie... and 3 cats. Jade is real nice too!

My Top names from your list are:
Noah Elijah Beau, Milo Jeremiah Drake, Holly Sophia Jasmin & Isobel Elenora Rae.

My Top Names:
Girls:
Emilie Sophia
Caitlin Adeline
Jenna Isobel
Isla Cathleen
Olivia Lily

Boys:
Lucas Jared
Andrew Thomas
Benjamin Liam
Jason Matthew
Hayden Connor

=)