The evolution of protein complexes

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The evolution of protein complexes

Postby GrumpyBob » Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:45 pm

There's a paper out at Nature Advance Online Publication (this may require a subscription to view, unfortunately) which is I think relevant to arguments about the bogus idea of irreducible complexity. (Finnigan et al (2012) Nature “Evolution of increased complexity in a molecular machine” doi:10.1038/nature10724). There’s also an accompanying News and Views article (Doolittle (2012) Nature “Evolutionary biology: A ratchet for protein complexity” doi:10.1038/nature10816). See also my article at Wonderful Life.

Essentially, the work concerned a six-protein subcomplex, the Vo-ATPase section of the V-ATPase. In most eukaryotes, this is composed of six proteins of two types (5+1), but in yeast it's composed of six proteins of three types (4+1+1). The paper describes how bioinformatics was used to deduce the likely last common ancestor of two of the yeast proteins, they then synthesised genes encoding the proteins to express them in yeast cells and conducted experiments to see how they functioned.

To cut a long story short, they make some interesting discoveries about how gene duplication followed by sequence divergence can lead to increasingly complex structures, even where the sequence changes are neutral or individually disadvantageous. It's also indicative of how the 'molecular machines' that ID creationists love to portray as impossible to explain using evolutionary theory actually may have evolutionary mechanisms.
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Re: The evolution of protein complexes

Postby Michael » Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:22 pm

Oh dear the IDgoddiditgod has just been forced out of another gap

Interestingly I have found very little God of the gaps in the past in my historical research. It has only come to the fore with ID creationism
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