A team of more than 20 researchers recently set out to do a seemingly simple scientific task: Create a "minimal cellular genome" to determine the basics of life. In the course of their experiments, however, they realised that only a Higher Being, can create creatures that are intrinsically complex.
In an article on The Science Magazine entitled "Design and Synthesis of a Minimal Bacterial Genome," the scientists explained how they attempted to strip down all the seemingly unnecessary genes from a bacterial genome to gain better understanding on the basic requirement for life.
"We set out to define a minimal cellular genome experimentally by designing and building one, then testing it for viability. Our goal is a cell so simple that we can determine the molecular and biological function of every gene," the researchers explained.
What they thought was a simple experiment turned out to be a difficult one. The scientists were able to build a "bare-bones" bacterium after designing, constructing, chemically synthesising, and repeatedly testing the viability of bacterial genomes.
This basic bacterium, however, was still complex in its simplicity. In fact, the stripped-down genome was still made up of 473 genes, with 149 of those genes completely unknown.
"The minimal cell concept appears simple at first glance but becomes more complex upon close inspection," the researchers stated. "In addition to essential and nonessential genes, there are many quasi-essential genes, which are not absolutely critical for viability but are nevertheless required for robust growth."
Craig Venter, a co-leader of the research team, meanwhile admitted that life seems so complex for it to be simplified.
"We've discovered that we don't know a third of the basic knowledge of life. We expected that maybe 5 percent of the genes would be of unknown function. We weren't ready for 30 percent. I would have lost a very big bet," he told The Atlantic.
He added that these findings were indeed "very humbling."
"These are key biological functions affecting all of life that we don't understand," the researcher said.
Ann Gauger, a senior research scientist at Biologic Institute, meanwhile said that this complexity of life "won't happen without a Designer," apparently referring to God.
"Irreducible systems are evidence of intelligent design, because only a mind has the capacity to design and implement such an information-rich, interdependent network as a minimal cell," she said.