RNA Ties and Unties Itself | The Institute for Creation Research
RNA Ties and Unties Itself
There are two types of nucleic acids (genetic molecules): DNA and RNA. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is a large linear molecule designed to store genetic information in all cells. RNA (ribonucleic acid) serves as a blueprint for proteins and occurs in three forms: transfer-RNA, ribosomal RNA, and messenger-RNA.

It has been said that nucleic acids are like an onion. As biologists peel away a layer of complexity, underneath lies another layer waiting to be described. For example, in 2010 University of Toronto researchers “discovered a fundamentally new view of how living cells use a limited number of genes to generate enormously complex organs such as the brain.”1

Recently, an altogether amazing property of the RNA molecule has been discovered in the bacterium Escherichia coli. The RNA in E. coli “requires specific local structural fluctuations within a key hairpin to engender efficient cotranscriptional conformational rearrangement into the functional structure.”2 Put another way,

Striking new videos show how RNA—the genetic molecule that tells cells how to build proteins—tangles up in insane knots as it forms, only to disentangle itself at the last second, and in a way that took scientists by surprise.3

Surprising, indeed. This “bouncing conga line of nucleotides” actually forms knots that—if left uncorrected—would result in improper RNA function and possibly diseases. By using high-resolution videos, a unique type of RNA called signal recognition particle (SNP) RNA, and a computer algorithm, scientists were able to actually see the growing RNA molecule achieve its final shape.

But what happens when the RNA is forming and is trapped in the tangled knots? Researchers found,

. . . as more nucleotides get added to the sequence, the new nucleotides swoop in to unravel the knot by displacing the nucleotides tangled up inside. "That last little nucleotide is like a trigger" that allows the whole RNA to pop into the correct conformation, [study author Julius] Lucks said. Think of the last fold in an origami project, which suddenly transforms a crinkly piece of paper into a lovely butterfly.3

The only time evolution was mentioned in the article was to state the SNP RNA was “an evolutionarily ancient molecule found across all kingdoms of life.” Creation scientists would say the Creator used this uniquely-designed molecule in all kingdoms of life, just as He used specific enzymes designed to break down food—whether the organisms are bacteria, birds, or blue whales.

Non-evolutionists look forward to more amazing discoveries in biology that clearly point beyond the creation to the Creator.

1. Pidutti, Mario. U of T researchers crack “splicing code,” solve a mystery underlying biological complexity. Posted on media.utoronto.ca on May 5, 2010, accessed January 21, 2021. See also: ICR News. Posted on icr.org November 15, 2010.
2. Yu, A. et al. Computationally reconstructing cotranscriptional RNA folding from experimental data reveals rearrangement of non-native folding intermediates. Molecular Cell. Posted on cell.com January 15, 2021, accessed January 21, 2021.
3. Lanese, N. RNA ties itself in knots, then unties itself in mesmerizing video. Posted on msn.com January 19, 2021, accessed January 21, 2021.

*Mr. Frank Sherwin is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his master’s degree in invertebrate zoology from the University of Northern Colorado.
The Latest
Do Fish Skulls Show Their Evolution?
Fish never learned to walk. Regardless, an evolutionary paleontologist suggested an undocumented scenario of how fish gradually evolved into four-legged...

Honoring Pioneers of Creation
It’s always fun to catch up with old friends. We recently asked some pioneers of the creation movement to share with us where they are in their...

Henry M. Morris and Duane T. Gish: Advancing the Cause of Christ
    The following excerpts by Dr. Henry Morris and Dr. Duane Gish were taken from the first issue of the Creation-Science...

Creation Pioneer Don DeYoung
I first met Dr. Henry Morris in 1973 when he spoke in chapel at Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana. With a growing interest in creation studies,...

Creation Pioneer Larry Vardiman
Larry and Jeannette Vardiman   During my second year in graduate school at Colorado State University, I received a phone call...

Creation Pioneer David Coppedge
David Coppedge   I’ve lived in Santa Clarita, California, since 1992, but I grew up in the San Fernando Valley. My parents...

Creation Pioneer Russell Humphreys
Russell Humphreys   After I retired in 2008 from being an associate professor for the Institute for Creation Research, I moved...

Creation Pioneer Gary Parker
Gary Parker   In rural south Florida where I grew up (Arcadia, DeSoto County), where my wife, Mary, and I had the first of our...

Creation Pioneer John Baumgardner
My wife, Mary, and I currently live in central Virginia near Lynchburg and Liberty University, where I serve as research professor emeritus in the School...

John C. Whitcomb: God’s Providence and The Genesis Flood
John C. Whitcomb   John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris published The Genesis Flood in 1961. For the first time, a book presented...