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dvunkannon



Posts: 1377
Joined: June 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 15 2012,08:23   

Just finished David Deamer's First Life.

The main point of the book is to expound on Deamer's theory that lipid based vesicles were important to OOL.

Having read a lot of pop sci literature (Zimmer, Ridley, etc.) it shows that Deamer is a working scientist, not a professional writer. At times the book felt padded by reviews of everything from the Big Bang onward, and an explanation of what name comes first in an article reference. And there was a fair bit of chemistry porn, in which the author gives a bit too much detail on lab procedures.

Deamer's take home message is that OOL requires some minimum complexity, and most scientists are not willing to attempt the messy experiments necessary. In a football analogy, grant funded science is a "three yards and down" ground game, and OOL needs some Hail Mary passing.

His last chapter describes his ideal update of the Miller-Urey experiment. It's big, throws a lot into the mix, and would cost a couple million to run. At the same time, he acknowledges that it would have to run over and over, with multiple changes in atmosphere, temperature, pressure, etc. which would increase the cost. But at the same same time, he mentions that robotic experimentation runs hundreds of experiments at the same time. However, the two ideas never connect - that you have to reduce OOL experiments to something that can be done on a microfluidics chip in large batches.

Recommended.

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Iím referring to evolution, not changes in allele frequencies. - Cornelius Hunter
Iím not an evolutionist, Iím a change in allele frequentist! - Nakashima

  
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