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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Thinkquote of the day 1: Key origin of life researcher doubts that there was a single common ancestor

In 1998, Woese wrote: “No consistent organismal phylogeny has emerged from the many individual protein phylogenies so far produced.” He concluded that primitive organisms acquired many of their genes and proteins, not by Darwinian descent with modification, but by “lateral gene transfer” from other organisms. “The universal ancestor,”
he wrote,” is not an entity, a thing,” but a community of complex molecules—a sort of primordial soup—from which different kinds of cells emerged independently.

- from Jonathan Wells' The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design , p. 44, (Carl Woese quoted from "The universal ancestor," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 95 (1998): 6854-59.)

That, of course, creates an interesting question: If the origin of life is as immensely improbable as Fred Hoyle and Francis Crick thought, how would it happen more than once, as Woese's comments imply?

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