A recent study discovered that certain molecules mimic the exact shapes of other molecules, allowing them to interact in a way that protects the genetic integrity of their host organism.
Researchers discovered the critical role for the mimicking molecule and DNA repair factor Rad60 by using supercomputing power in conjunction with X-ray crystallization. They mapped the place of each atom in the molecule, including each nook and cranny of the outer surfaces. What they found is that Rad60 has regions that are shaped exactly like parts of another protein called SUMO. Thus, Rad60, when expressed, can interact with the same proteins that SUMO does.
This is a small part of the complicated and precise process that maintains genome stability. This keeps DNA from breaking down and falling apart when it is most vulnerable—while being copied just prior to cell division. “Maintaining genome stability is critical to an organism's survival because genetic defects can promote tumors, aging, and neurodegenerative disease.”1
This research has provided another example of what former university lecturer and author L. R. Croft called “molecular perfection,”2 or what biochemist Michael Behe later termed “irreducible complexity.”3 Jeff Perry of The Scripps Research Institute, a lead author of the new study, said, "We know that changing a single amino acid can break the [protein] binding. When you disrupt this interface, it creates instability and once that happens, the integrity of the genome can't be protected."1
And without the genome, the organism dies. As science discovers more precisely-fitting molecules upon which life depends, it uncovers more reasons to reject the proposal that all of these components came together by themselves fortuitously at the same time. Life, therefore, had to be a purposeful construction by a Creator God.
- Scripps Research Scientists Uncover Mimicry at the Molecular Level in a Critical Pathway that Protects Genome Integrity. The Scripps Research Institute press release, April 13, 2009, reporting on research published in Prudden, J. et al. Molecular mimicry of SUMO promotes DNA repair. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. Published online April 12, 2009.
- Croft, L. R. 1988. How Life Began. Durham, England: Evangelical Press, 131.
- Behe, M. J. 1996. Darwin’s Black Box. New York: Simon & Schuster, 39.
* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on April 29, 2009.