Don Quixote in the Lab

Re: Darkness Before the Dawn – of Biology, 1 let's be honest: 50 years after an experiment that I was told in the 1970s very nearly "created life in a test tube," researchers are still spinning their wheels and having to "see new reasons for optimism." One study that generated a lot of excitement, when stripped of the technical jargon and wishful puffery, consisted of little more than whipping up a soapy froth with powdered clay and odd bits of RNA that didn't do anything. The claims to th

David Bump
Feb 1, 2004

Re: Darkness Before the Dawn – of Biology, 1 let's be honest: 50 years after an experiment that I was told in the 1970s very nearly "created life in a test tube," researchers are still spinning their wheels and having to "see new reasons for optimism." One study that generated a lot of excitement, when stripped of the technical jargon and wishful puffery, consisted of little more than whipping up a soapy froth with powdered clay and odd bits of RNA that didn't do anything. The claims to the effect that these are like protocells that grow and divide smell horribly of the claims by Haeckel and Huxley over a century ago [that they] discovered protolife in what turned out to be chemical sludge from the ocean floor.

Attempts to reproduce the origins of the vital internal molecules are little better, and what one researcher claims is denied by others....

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