New Insight Into Possible Origins of Life: For the First Time Researchers

Although there have been many discussions about this theory, it has been difficult to physically create such RNA replication systems. However, in a study published in Nature Communications , Project Assistant Professor Ryo Mizuuchi and Professor Norikazu Ichihashi at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tokyo, and their team, explain how they carried out a long-term RNA replication experiment in which they witnessed the transition from a chemical system towards biological complexity



Evolutionary transition from a single RNA replicator to a multiple replicator network

Another bit of understanding gained, and no doubt we will hear the usual complaints from the Discovery Institute. The point to remember is that if abiogenesis is impossible as some claim, then we shouldn’t expect this sort of finding at all. We don’t understand all about the origin of life yet, but we have good reason to think science can answer these questions.


People need to pay attention to what’s already been posted. Perhaps these two threads can be combined?

1 Like

Does the network of cooperating replicators have higher reproductive fitness than the single replicator ancestor in the same environment, or does it have higher competitive fitness when in direct competition with it? Or is it more resistant to parasitic RNA species? I don’t really understand what drives the emergence of the more complex cooperator network. Really fascinating stuff.

Gimmeabreak, I’m still getting my morning coffee. :sweat_smile:

Why not?

1 Like

Because there’s no reason for experimental evolution to work if natural evolution doesn’t exist.

It’s that old saw of testing the empirical predictions of one’s hypotheses. Got any?


Because if new discoveries like this continue long enough, we will have eventually have a scientific answer to AB. “Impossible” means that progress has to stop, and there is no sign of that happening. The prediction some people make is that AB is impossible - and there is no good reason to think that is so.


Hi Dan
What molecular innovation do you think this experiment demonstrated? Was it independent of human design help?

1 Like

It didn’t show any innovation, but it provided evidence to “support the capability of molecular replicators to spontaneously develop complexity through Darwinian evolution, a critical step for the emergence of life” (quote from the abstract).

It is an EXPERIMENT and must involve human intervention in some way. This makes your question pointless.


How do you suggest we perform scientific experiments without human involvement? Should we breed hyper-intelligent chimpanzees to perform experiments instead? What would that prove?


What’s a “molecular innovation” if cooperation between multiple molecules isn’t it?

Nobody forced or helped the replicators to begin cooperating, that result emerged as a result of accumulating mutations and direct competition. The scientists didn’t even select for anything(no one was picking out particular mutants with desirable properties), the competition between replicators is intrinsic. Which is why the result is so interesting.


[quote=“Dan_Eastwood, post:2, topic:14929”]
We don’t understand all about the origin of life yet[/quote]
The understatement of the century.

Dream on. Human beings haven’t got a hope in hell of ever answering that question. And theorizing means nothing until someone actually produces a viable organism from inanimate matter.

IIRC the post was about empiricism, not theorizing. So why are you pretending that it was just theorizing?

1 Like

Hello @Buzzard, and welcome to Peaceful Science. Your opinion seems fairly clear, but perhaps you can tell us a bit about yourself first?

And so it was before every new discovery and innovation. Humans are really good at solving problems, and as I noted already, there is nothing to indicate this problem is unsolvable. Theorizing is exactly what led to the finding described above - a finding along the path to what some say is “impossible.”

Something which Craig Venter has arguably done already. Venter assembled bits of other organisms to do this, but producing those bits artificially is mostly a matter of refined laboratory technique.


Do you accept the geological explanations for the existence of mountain ranges like the Himalayas? Or do you think we must first reproduce Mt. Everest in a lab before we can conclude these explanations are true?

(I admit, I am a bit apprehensive about your answer to the first question. But I thought I’d try, anyway.)


And yet somehow they’re making progress on that question anyway.


My rather obvious reaction is…then why don’t they repeat the experiment with the same, but artificially assembled bits, and see if they produce a similar organism?

Why should anyone want to do that? what purpose would it serve?? Theorize! :smile:

Venter’s purpose wasn’t to create a new form of life, the purpose was to demonstrate the capability of new technology and technique (and maybe showing off a little).

Hazy memory clears a bit - I think what Venter did was assemble DNA for a living cell, and replaced the DNA of another cell to create something unique. No mean feat, but this was not an effort to assemble an entire cell from scratch. Doing that would be a larger effort, but the hard part (DNA) is already done. This brings me back to my main point: There is no insurmountable barrier to an understanding of abiogenesis.

1 Like

And Venter’s work has no relation to abiogenesis anyway since no-one believes the ability to synthetically construct a cell de novo with no concern for geological constraints or plausible prebiotic environments is how life originates.

The quest for the origin of life is not to make a living cell using intelligent design and advanced technology, it’s to find out under what circumstances the process by which a living entity forms happens naturally.