Leaky Fat Blobs Produced Life

first_img“How life began remains an open question,” said David Deamer in Nature,1 then filled the opening with a speculation: maybe life started in leaky blobs of fat.    The imaginary first primitive cells would have had a problem.  Without transport proteins that control entrances and exits, any lucky ingredients that might have come together inside a primitive membrane might leak out.  But if the membrane was too protective, the inside molecules would be trapped.  “A model of a primitive cell suggests that early membranes were surprisingly permeable,” the article subtitle teased.  Indeed, a team writing in the same issue published results of their laboratory simulations of an artificial vesicle that “allows small, organic ‘nutrient’ molecules to pass through its membrane.”  Would that solve the problems?    Deamer switched imaginary views to a primitive earth with volcanoes popping out like acne.  The“local conditions were far from equilibrium – a constant flux of energy drove organic reactions towards ever-increasing complexity,” he imagined.  “This would ultimately have yielded various polymeric products, perhaps including prototypes of nucleic acids or proteins.”  Next, he envisioned “vast numbers of microscopic assemblies of molecules” that became enclosed in fatty bubbles.  By chance, life emerged:In this theory of the origins of life, each cell-like assembly had a different composition from the next.  Most were inert, but a few might have contained a particular mixture of components that could be driven towards further complexity by capturing energy and small ‘nutrient’ molecules from the environment – the beginnings of a heterotrophic system.  As the nutrient molecules were transported into the internal compartment, they became linked together into long chains in an energy-consuming process.  Life began when one or more of the assemblies found a way not only to grow, but also to reproduce by incorporating a cycle involving catalytic functions and genetic information.The leaps in that scenario are astonishing, but finally Deamer acknowledged a problem: “the membrane that forms the compartment of the putative cell is also a permeability barrier.”  How to get nutrients inside for the catalytic cycle, assuming it got going?  He pointed to the work of Mansy et al in the same issue.2  They experimented with prefabricated vesicles that were able to selectively permit the passage of ribose or nucleotides but exclude polymers.  The researchers “establish for the first time that a simulated prebiotic protocell can work with an external source of reagents,” he said.  “a heterotrophic origin of primitive cellular life is feasible.”3    In his closing paragraph, Deamer took a swipe at the strong minority of origin-of-life researchers who believe life took hold in metabolic cycles before cells emerged: “Cells are the basic unit of all life today, and there is increasing reason to think that the first form of life was a primitive version of a cell, rather than a replicating molecule supported by a metabolic network.”1.  David Deamer, “Origins of life: How leaky were primitive cells?,” Nature 454, 37-38 (3 July 2008) | doi:10.1038/454037a.2.  Mansy et al, “Template-directed synthesis of a genetic polymer in a model protocell,” Nature 454, 122-125 (3 July 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature07018.3.  Heterotroph (other-nourished) means an organism that lives off the nutrient manufacture of others; i.e., humans are heterotrophs.  Autotrophs (self-nourished) organisms make their own food.  Because autotrophs, like plants, require much more complexity in order to harvest energy and make food, origin-of-life researchers have preferred to believe that the first life-forms were heterotrophs.  Though the complexity gets divided up somewhat, it begs the question of how heterotrophs obtained their required nutrients with no autotrophs around.More powerful than a loco motive, leaping tall conceptual hurdles with a single bound, faster than a speeding roulette, it’s Supermad!    For more cartoons, stay tuned to the Nature channel.  Now, for a word from our sponsors.  Do you sometimes feel like a fat blob?  Are you lacking energy and feeling lifeless?  Here’s a tip; jump into a volcano.  That’s right.  The far-from-equilibrium conditions at the Volcano Mountain Health Spa are sure to drive you toward higher degrees of complexity and fitness.  It will also improve your sex life.  You’ll find yourself growing and reproducing in no time.  Spend a few million years on our metabolic cycles and read our magazines, filled with genetic information.  Join today and get a free cart load of our sugary snacks made of 100% pure ribose, just in from Death Valley! (11/05/2004).    If you’re tired of cartoon re-runs (09/03/2004), get some realistic intellectual nourishment at Creation-Evolution Headlines.(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Khulisa founder wins social award

first_imgTurning lives around Van Selm adds the SASE Pinnacle Award to a long list of accolades that she has received for her work at Khulisa – including being elected as an Ashoka Fellow, winning the Elizabeth Arden/Elle Magazine Visible Difference Award, winning the MIB Group Majuba Forest Entrepreneur of the Year Award and receiving nominations for Woman of the Year for four consecutive years. Van Selm’s early career was characterised by a series of jobs at which she turned her entrepreneurial spirit to creating new opportunities and developing her own skills. A self-proclaimed “graduate of the school of hard knocks”, she worked in sales, marketing and travel, often at companies that she started up herself. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material SASE defines social entrepreneurs as visionary individuals who are motivated to evoke social change in a sustainable way. Khulisa crime prevention initiative “Khulisa is faced with many obstacles, including government buy-in, money to cover the costs of expanding according to demand, communities that are angry, hopeless and sceptical of our processes, and a lack of capacity to satisfy the need for programme demand,” says Van Selm. SAinfo reporter 24 March 2009 Van Selm is a social entrepreneur in the truest sense of the term, showing how her drive, compassion and insight have come together to create Khulisa, an organisation that is making radical changes to the South African criminal justice landscape. It was launched as an interactive course at Leeuwkop Prison to help offenders to use a common storytelling language to restore a sense of morality and ultimately lead to rehabilitation. Twelve years on, Khulisa is a reflection of the woman at the helm, who has devoted her time and energy into the Section 21 (not for profit) company, as well as of the huge successes than can be realised when a vision is applied to those who need it most. The course was developed after she spent time travelling around the world with Credo Mutwa, the South African spiritual leader, who was researching the common thread in different cultures’ storytelling traditions. Social entrepreneurs “recognise the gaps in service delivery and are constantly innovating solutions to developmental changes, they are also seeking ways in which to make these projects viable and independent of donor funding,” the organisers said in a statement this week.center_img “I am surrounded by incredible staff, and invigorated by the success stories that emerge from our programmes,” she says. “I also have the support of a secretary who has been with my for over twenty years and my husband who is a business consultant by profession and brought financial acumen into my life.” Khulisa states as its mission, “to unlock the potential of both individuals and the larger society”. This is done through a series of programmes and interventions at prisons and with at-risk youth in communities to make restitution, restore personal pride, prevent recidivism and provide alternatives to gangs, drugs and crime. At the time, Van Selm’s intention was merely to create a practical outlet for the lessons she had learnt on her travels, but in the face of the instant positive feedback she received, and the overwhelming need for such interventions among South Africa’s marginalised prison population, the demand was created and Khulisa was born. Social entrepreneurs Khulisa is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to the prevention of crime and the rehabilitation of offenders in South Africa, and the provenance of the organisation is inextricably bound to Van Selm’s personal journey of discovery working with marginalised people in the country. “We have a recidivism rate of 80%. Unless we do something about providing second chances and alternative ways of living to people who have been in conflict with the law, crime will continue to perpetuate,” says Van Selm. “I am honoured to have received this award because I feel that it recognises and draws attention to the vital work that we at Khulisa are doing.” In 1997, armed only with her marketing expertise, experience in building companies for a new South Africa and a genuine belief in the importance of inter-cultural dialogue, Van Selm established the Khulisa crime prevention initiative. Aside from the obvious personal rewards that van Selm realises through helping people turn their lives around every day, she has been supported in her achievements by a number of factors. Unlocking potential Khulisa founder and MD Lesley-Ann van Selm was recognised for her crime prevention and offender rehabilitation initiatives with the Pinnacle Award at the Southern Africa Social Entrepreneurship (SASE) Awards in Johannesburg last week. But she feels that with young people at risk throughout the country, the work being done by Khulisa is so important that the challenges are worth facing and the battles worth fighting. The award is given to individuals who have developed and implemented innovative social ventures that have a transformative social impact, are driven by an operationally and financially sustainable model, and are replicable.last_img read more

Dermot OLeary Preps For Day Of Dance

first_imgDermot O’Leary has been prepping both body and soles for his epic 24 hour Day of Dance for Comic Relief.Video: Dermot’s Day of DanceCaught by the cameras at Pineapple Dance Studios in London while preparing for his marathon endeavour, Dermot O’Leary was spending the day limbering up, shaking it off, and getting to grips with those all-important moves.The prancing presenter will kick off his Day of Dance for Comic Relief live on The One Show on Thursday 12th March. He’ll then spend the next 24 hours dancing both in the studio and in the BBC’s New Broadcasting House Piazza before heading down to the Red Nose Day Night of TV at The London Palladium on Friday 13th March – he’ll even dance his way there!The BBC Radio 2 star will be checking in with his DJing colleagues throughout the 24 hours and every minute of the gruelling dance will be streamed live on the BBC Red Button. Celebrity friends will pop along throughout the night and day to wish him luck too!Speaking from Pineapple Dance Studios, Dermot said: “When I came up with the idea for this event I was in the middle of the dancefloor on holiday, where you never want the dancing to end. Now I’m back in the freezing cold UK with a few less disco lights and a lot more bruises – and it doesn’t seem quite as appealing! I’m going to need all the support I can get from the public to keep me going!”Dermot was later spotted at the Harley Street clinic of Comic Relief endurance expert and renowned sports scientist Professor Greg Whyte. Greg was checking up on the star before he puts his body quite literally through its paces.Speaking at the clinic, Greg said: “Although it sounds fun, there are lots of risks with taking on this dance. Putting your body through any sort of endurance test will always take its toll, but for such a huge amount of time and with such sustained physical movement there is a lot that could go wrong. Knee, hip and ankle injuries, muscle strains and blisters are just the start – as sleep deprivation kicks in combined with exhaustion and dehydration the possibility of falls and impact injuries are a real risk. If Dermot thinks he’ll be sailing through his sidestepping, he’s got another thing coming.”To sponsor Dermot as he takes part in his 24-hour Day of Dance for Comic Relief, visit rednoseday.com/Dermot and follow his every move on BBC Radio 2 and the BBC Red Button from 19:00 on 12th March to 19:00 on 13th March.Money raised through Dermot’s Day of Dance for Comic Relief will help give street children in Uganda a brighter future and also help people living incredibly tough lives in the UK and across Africa.last_img read more

Province seeking public input for improving the Forest and Range Practices Act

first_imgThe Forest and Range Practices Act governs on-the-ground forest and range activities on B.C.’s public forests and rangelands.According to the Government, feedback from the engagement process will inform changes to the Forest and Range Practices Act and regulations that are planned over the next two years.Feedback can be provided until July 15, 2019.Feedback forms are available online through the Government of B.C.’s website. VICTORIA, B.C. – The Government of B.C. is seeking public input for improving the Forest and Range Practices Act.Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Doug Donaldson, says making changes to the Act will help strengthen the Government’s oversight of the forest sector and improve forest management.“Making changes to the act is essential to strengthen the Government’s oversight of the forest sector and improve public trust in how our forests and rangelands are managed. We want to improve the legislation to ensure it will continue to sustainably manage our forests and rangelands in the face of climate change.”last_img read more

After Lok Sabha poll results, Congress to see overhaul of AICC

first_imgNew Delhi: The May 23 is going to be very crucial for the Congress and its cadres as the results of the Lok Sabha election 2019 would play a decisive role in Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s total reshuffle plan of All India Congress Committee (AICC).According to party insiders, there would be a total overhauling of the AICC office-bearers after the Lok Sabha elections. “It’s not yet clear that the results of Lok Sabha elections would go in favour of Congress or not, but it’s very imminent that the AICC get a major reshuffle soon after the announcement of poll results. The Congress president has expressed his willingness to revamp the party’s committees by putting more responsibilities on the shoulders of leaders of the young generation,” a senior party leader told Millennium Post. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra Singh”The reshuffle would of a mass level. All the ‘non-performing’ AICC functionaries would be changed with a new and vibrant team,” the official said, adding that general secretaries would be empowered with more decision-making rights. “The party’s old guards may be given ‘comfortable’ responsibilities to avoid any conflict of interests with the party. The objective of the AICC overhauling would be aimed at making Congress a party of the nation,” the party official said, adding that several state presidents of the party would be replaced with leaders of performing records.last_img read more