The Oldest Tale of Our Lives


No matter how much the creationists stress, we were not built from scratch by some universal governing entity, but are descendents of a common entity that self-replicated. Just as selection decides which species shall survive, selection long, long ago would have favoured molecules which were better at producing copies of themselves – one of the basic characteristics of life. The two survivors of that ancient era are well known – the RNA and the DNA.

The oldest tale is the story of the DNA. The story was, and is being, written in just four characters. It is the completion of a circle from self-replicating molecules to an organism so complex and intelligent to aim to command the very characters of the tale.

George Church, in his book on synthetic biology titled Regenesis, speaks of the the great saga as

“The tale of the genome involves more sex than the most pornographic novel imaginable. The narrative is replete with incredible action scenes, countless life-and-death struggles, wild improbabilities that turn out to be true, and overwhelming successes in the face of staggering odds. It is a story about families and universal truths.”

Synthetic biology with its goal of a minimal, totally synthetic organism should look at how the first self-replicating forms arose, as he continues

“In the retelling, it becomes, in part, your own personal story. The tale reveals a vibrant past and may lead us to a better future. As the ultimate self-help manual, it offers better health and longer life, along with descendants as numerous as sands on the Ganges.”

P.S. :  Any of us now, is about the 1000000000000000000000000000th (that was 27 zeroes) descendant of the last unicellular common ancestor (LUCA). Each of your descendant had the good fortune to live until their reproductive age. Forget not the billions of spermatozoa and the thousands of ova that were beaten in most of the births in your later evolution. You, hence, are a very, very lucky chance.

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