Apologies, but I don’t fully grok the comment system here yet, and I seem to have fouled things up. Will fix it if I can?
DE: That would seem to be a reasonable prediction for evolved proteins, yes.
BC: You’re assuming your conclusion here.
DE: I don’t understand how you mean that. I think that interdependencies among proteins are not an unexpected product of evolution. Allow me to re-phrase: “I am (was “we are”) not surprised at interdependencies among proteins.”
DE: I’m a statistician not a biologist, but I’ve tinkered with genetic search algorithms, and I do not see how it would be possible to stop such interdependencies from forming if it favors fitness.
BC:Do the genetic search algorithms you worked with include a target sequence?
DE: That is not the setting where I applied GA. This was just a side project I did for fun, setting up a complex optimization problem with a simple fitness function and letting it fly.
DE: I am admittedly making a naive claim based on my limited experience with GA. BUT given what I know, if there exists the potential for protein dependencies, I am not surprised that genetic search is able to find them. GA is a very efficient search method (“big Oh” O[n*log(n)])!
DE: Depending on where we draw the line for “life”, I wouldn’t necessarily require cell division, only a sustainable process that reproduces itself.
BC: I am not sure how you can have a sustainable process that reproduces itself without cell division. Can you describe something here that is testable?
DE: At a minimum - A self-reproducing protein, perhaps a chain-molecule that lengthens itself with occasional errors, and periodically breaks into two pieces, both piece continuing the process.
DE: Now I’m going to hedge a bit, because that minimal molecule might not have all the qualities of life. Call it a pre-biotic molecule if you like. The essential quality is the ability to reproduce imperfectly, allowing natural selection to come into play.
DE: Can I test that? No, not personally. Dr. S has a better answer here.
Is that testable? As I understand, a molecule with such properties is an object of current research into abiogenesis.