Virus Motors Impossible for Evolution | The Institute for Creation Research
Virus Motors Impossible for Evolution

Bacteriophages are non-living yet specialized viruses that hijack cells to clone more viruses. In this way, they help to maintain balanced bacterial populations. When a new “phage” is assembled within a host cell, it is faced with a difficulty—how to package its DNA, which is 1,000 times longer than the diameter of its capsid, the tiny vessel that holds it. Research in 2007 revealed that this is accomplished by a molecular motor.1

The amount of force this motor exerts is 6 x 10-11 Newtons, making it the most powerful of all known molecular motors and twice as powerful as a car engine, relative to its size. It guzzles fuel at the rate of 300 ATP (adenosine triphosphate) energy molecules per second.2 (Since it essentially steals all this ATP from its host, efficiency is not an issue.)

The bacteriophage motor also has gears, a handy feature when DNA needs to be unraveled before packaging. Douglas Smith of the University of California in San Diego said in 2007, “It is the equivalent of reeling in and packing 100 yards of fishing line into a coffee cup, but the virus is able to package its DNA in under five minutes.”3

The December 26, 2008, edition of the journal Cell reported on the nuts and bolts of the viral DNA packaging motor.4 It consists of five proteins in a ring that wraps around the DNA strand. Each protein takes its turn, running counterclockwise, to shove two DNA bases at a time into its capsid. Each of the five proteins goes through a sequence of events: binding ATP (enabled by the exact placement of a specific amino acid, arginine), binding the DNA, cranking the DNA upward, then releasing and resetting.

A famous twentieth-century evolutionist, J. B. S. Haldane, once said in a debate that evolution could not possibly form “various mechanisms, such as the wheel and magnet, which would be useless till fairly perfect.”5 In the 60 years since this statement was made, biological magnets, wheels, and motors—including the viral DNA packing motor—have been described in considerable detail. Since none of these finely-tuned biological features could have been invented by any natural means, they must have come from a supernatural One.

References

  1. Fuller, D. N. et al. 2007. Single phage T4 DNA packaging motors exhibit large force generation, high velocity, and dynamic variability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 104 (43): 16868-16873.
  2. Sarfati, J. 2008. By Design. Powder Springs, GA: Creation Book Publishers, 143.
  3. Seethaler, S. Powerful Molecular Motor Permits Speedy Assembly of Viruses. University of California, San Diego press release, October 29, 2007.
  4. Sun, S. et al. 2008. The Structure of the Phage T4 DNA Packaging Motor Suggests a Mechanism Dependent on Electrostatic Forces. Cell. 135 (7): 1251-1262.
  5. Dewar, D. 1949. Is Evolution a Myth? A Debate between D. Dewar and L. M. Davies vs. J. B. S. Haldane. London: Watts & Co. Ltd, 90. Quoted in Sarfati, By Design, 86.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer.

Article posted on January 9, 2009.

The Latest
NEWS
"100-Million-Year-Old" Bacteria?
Researchers from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology have recovered what they claim are 100-million-year-old microbes. Drilling 74.5...

NEWS
Origin of Tectonic Plates Best Explained by the Flood
A new study published in Nature Communications claims to have figured out how the tectonic plates may have originated.1 It’s been over...

NEWS
Give Today and Support Biblical Creation Ministry
North Texas Giving Day is here once again! Will you help us reach the next generation? Your generosity will empower ICR and our Dallas Museum—the...

NEWS
Mammalian Brains Prove Evolutionary Disconnect
The evolutionary model of brain development predicted that the complexity of neural connectivity should have increased as brains became larger and the...

NEWS
North Texas Giving Day Next Week!
North Texas Giving Day is almost here! Will you help us reach the next generation? Your generosity will empower ICR and the ICR Discovery Center for Science...

NEWS
Celebrating One Year at the ICR Discovery Center
Thank you to all who joined us for the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History’s First Anniversary Celebration! ICR staff enjoyed meeting...

NEWS
New Evidence Hurts Feathered Dinosaur Theory
Is a dinosaur still a dinosaur if it has flight feathers? A new study points to some fascinating evidence that contradicts the idea of feathered dinosaurs...

NEWS
New Planetarium Show: Exploring Deep Space
The ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History is celebrating its first anniversary since the Grand Opening on September 2, 2019. To commemorate...

NEWS
Inside September 2020 Acts & Facts
What's the story behind ICR's new President? What milestone are we celebrating this month at the ICR Discovery Center? How do comets affirm...

NEWS
Sunflower Heliotropism: August Sunlight for Making Tons of Seeds
August is an important month for sunflowers—those gigantic, bright-yellow flowers with brownish, round seed heads bordered by radiating yellow ligules...