Are Cellular Motors Related by Evolution?

first_imgJust because two things go round and round, does that make them related by common ancestry?  A Japanese team thinks so.  A bacterial flagellum rotates (06/04/2002).  So does ATP synthase, though it is about 10 times smaller (04/30/2004).  Publishing in PNAS,1 these researchers looked for a relationship, and noted that these two motors bear some structural similarities.  Also, the Type III Secretion System (TTSS) seems involved in this evolutionary family.  “These results imply an evolutionary relation between the flagellum and F0F1-ATPsynthase and a similarity in the mechanism between FliI and F1-ATPase despite the apparently different functions of these proteins,” they said.1Imada, Minamino, Tahara and Namba, “Structural similarity between the flagellar type III ATPase FliI and F1-ATPase subunits,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 10.1073/pnas.0608090104, published online before print January 3, 2007.Sad to see these researchers, who do great work on understanding cellular motors, be drawn into the dork side of the farce.  Their argument seems based strictly on structural similarity.  This represents a very weak understanding of homology (05/05/2004) and cannot hold up under scrutiny.    According to Darwinian theory, each random variation or mutation can only be selected if it has survival value.  In the first place, not all bacteria have flagella or TTSS systems, so the evolutionary need for them seems doubtful.  More importantly, how could you go from a working motor to one ten times larger in a stepwise fashion?  Imagine evolving a dump truck from a motorcycle.  Let’s say that the next generation has a lucky mutation on the way to our goal—a piston ten times larger.  But now it doesn’t fit the cylinder!  The motorcycle is broken, and stops working.  Being useless to the motorcycle, it rapidly finds its way to the junkyard.    The laws of natural selection are very demanding.  Unless each small step aids survival, it cannot be selected.  (We’re assuming here, too, that you hadn’t yet heard that neo-Darwinism has already been falsified, so none of this matters anyway—see 12/14/2006).  All the parts of the ATP-synthase motor and the flagellar motor are not only necessary, they are fitted together to each other’s specifications.  What’s more, the genetic code also has to assemble all these parts in the right order, in the right location, or they won’t work.  In other words, you can’t get from the motorcycle to the dump truck in a series of chance mutations, nor can you get from ATP synthase to a flagellum, or vice versa.    For these scientists, therefore, to presume for a moment that the two motors are related just because some parts of the ATP-synthase bear some structural resemblance to the parts of the flagellum, like motorcycle to the dump truck, admitting as they do that they have different functions, is ludicrous.  They must realize this.  They work as close as anyone to the paragon of molecular machines (10/07/2006).  They appreciate their complexity (11/02/2005).  Is this paper their annual pinch of incense to Charlie so that they can keep their jobs?  We need scientists with the courage to tell the truth: complex interacting systems do not arise by chance.(Visited 15 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

African courage, European victories in Brazil

first_img1 July 2014Africa’s challenge at the 2014 Fifa World Cup was brought to an end in the round of 16 after Nigeria and Algeria bowed out of contention on Monday. Despite the losses, there were positives to take out of two battling performances.Nigeria, the African champions, were the first to fall, beaten 2-0 by France at the Estadio Nacional de Brasilia.The contest was level at the break, but the French found two late goals to advance to the quarterfinals.GoalPaul Pogba put them in front in the 79th minute after Victor Enyeama, who had kept 21 clean sheets for Lille in France’s Ligue 1 in the past season, made a mess of dealing with a corner, which allowed the Juventus midfielder the chance to head his team into the lead.The tie was decided two minutes into additional time when Joseph Yobo netted an own goal.‘We didn’t deserve to lose’“Every defeat is painful, especially when the players follow their instructions and play well, as they did against France. We didn’t deserve to lose, but that’s football and we have to accept it,” Nigeria’s coach Stephen Keshi said after the contest.“We have to keep going forward and move on to something else now. There’s no point looking for guilty parties. The team plays, wins or loses together.“I’d like to thank the Brazilian public for their support during all of our games. I couldn’t have hoped for more from them.”France’s coach Didier Deschamp commented: “Nigeria played a very physical game and had a real presence across the pitch. It was a challenge to go up against that, but we managed it.”Pushed all the wayAlgeria pushed Germany all the way at the Estadio Beira-Rio, but in the end the European powerhouse continued with its remarkable record of having reached the quarterfinals of every World Cup since 1938. They needed extra time to advance, however.Coach Joachim Low’s side pushed hard for victory over the North Africans, but goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi continually stonewalled them. Two minutes into extra time, though, Andre Schuerrle finally found a way past the goalie.Extra time opening goalLaunching a swift counter-attack, the Germans attacked down the left, with Lukas Podolski sending in a low cross for Schuerrle, who cleverly redirected the ball, passed a little behind him, into the Algerian net.In the second last minute, Germany opened up the Algerian defence again. Mesut Ozil set up Schuerrle for another shot on goal, but when it was stopped on the goalline it came out to Ozil and he made no mistake, blasting it into the African team’s goal, despite the efforts of two defenders to cover behind Mbolhi.Almost immediately, Algeria hit back with a superb flowing move which was expertly finished by Abdelmoumene Djabou with a one-time shot from the left post after the ball had been curled in from the right.‘We’re very disappointed’After the match, Algerian goalkeeper Mbolhi, who was named man of the match, said: “We played against a very strong Germany team and conceded two goals late on. We’re very disappointed because we felt we had a chance. Fitness wasn’t the decisive factor.Taking something positive out of the clash, he added: “We’re part of Algeria’s footballing history because we’re the first team to have come this far and we can build on this for the future. We owe it to our coach that we made it into the Round of 16. We’d like to thank him for everything he’s done for and with the team.”Low’s thoughtsGermany’s coach Joachim Low admitted his team had been pushed all the way before clinching victory. “You need to catch your breath after a game like that, and at the end it was sheer force of will that got us the win,” he said.“We didn’t get into our rhythm in the first half and lost a lot of balls, but we were the better team after the break and in extra time.”France and Germany will next meet in the quarterfinals at the Estadio do Maracana on Rio de Janeiro on Friday.last_img read more

Pakistan’s Mystery Abductions: Slain Salman Taseer’s son Shahbaz still remains untraceable

first_imgPolicemen inspect the car that Shahbaz Taseer was driving when he was abducted in Lahore.Shahbaz Taseer, the billionaire son of slain Punjab governor Salman Taseer noticed the black Landcruiser and motorcycle shadowing him around 10 a.m. on August 26. By then, it was too late. Four unidentified men dragged the,Policemen inspect the car that Shahbaz Taseer was driving when he was abducted in Lahore.Shahbaz Taseer, the billionaire son of slain Punjab governor Salman Taseer noticed the black Landcruiser and motorcycle shadowing him around 10 a.m. on August 26. By then, it was too late. Four unidentified men dragged the 28-year-old out of his shiny two-seater Mercedes sports car in Lahore’s posh Gulberg area and bundled him into their vehicle. They tossed his laptop and mobile phones back into the Mercedes roadster before driving away.Police said Shahbaz was driving to his office in Gulberg without his usual police escort. A Taseer family driver later spotted the Mercedes parked in the middle of the road, doors ajar. No group claimed responsibility for the sensational kidnapping and no ransom call was made. A high-ranking law enforcement official told India Today on condition of anonymity that Shahbaz was kidnapped by intelligence agencies as they “doubted his loyalty” to the nation. The agencies have, in the past, illegally detained people on mere suspicion.Shahbaz Taseer was kidnapped on August 26Kidnapping for ransom has now spilled over from Karachi, Peshawar and the lawless tribal areas of Pakistan, to enter Lahore. Children, tourists and middle or upper class Pakistanis and businessmen are common targets for ransom that range from Pakistani Rs 20 lakh to Rs 10 crore.Shahbaz’s is the third high-profile kidnapping in the past two months. A Swiss couple, Divid Oliver Och and Daniela Widmer, were abducted from their camping van in Quetta on July 1, allegedly by gunmen belonging to the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). An American aid official, Warren Weinstein, 70, was also kidnapped from his Lahore home by six assailants on August 13. No ransom calls were made in any of these cases. This has led to speculation of political motives behind the kidnapping.advertisement”The agencies abducted more than a hundred innocent people during the Pervez Musharraf era and the practice continues,” says Amna Janjua, chairman of an NGO, Defence of Human Rights. Janjua’s husband, Masood Janjua, an educationist, went missing in May 2005. Janjua claims he has been detained by security agencies.Swiss couple Daniela Widmer and Dividoliveroch were abducted from their camping van in Quetta on July 1.However, the Federal Investigation Agency and police have claimed that they have arrested a dozen suspects and are pursuing investigations into the Shahbaz kidnapping. Some theories linked the abduction to extremists who are seeking the release of Shahbaz’s father’s assassin, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, now lodged in Adyala jail in Rawalpindi. Shahbaz was a vocal critic of Pakistan’s harsh anti-blasphemy laws. An official of Pakistan’s Investigation Bureau said three of the arrested suspects belong to the banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa group, a charity arm of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, and frequently visited Qadri in prison.”Shahbaz’s kidnapping is an eye-opener. Where are the government, law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies?” said a member of the Taseer family on condition of anonymity. “The government has failed to safeguard the lives and property of people,” she added.Shahbaz took over as the director of the family’s businesses, founded by his father, following the latter’s assasination on January 4. They include real estate firm Pace Pakistan, brokerage firms First Capital Equities and First Capital Securities Corporation, as well as Media Times that controls the leading English newspaper Daily Times, Urdu Daily AajKal, kids channel Wikkid Plus and satellite channel Business Plus. He and his wife Maheen Ghani were offloaded from a New York-bound flight at San Francisco on August 19 last year when a hoax caller said they were potential hijackers. The couple filed a lawsuit against the airline in March this year.The kidnapping of the scion has sent a wave of fear and anger across the country, particularly in the ruling PPP, of which Salman Taseer was a member. Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani contacted Shahbaz’s mother and assured her of the government’s support. He directed the Punjab police chief to take all measures to find the missing billionaire. President Asif Ali Zardari also telephoned Shahbaz’s mother and assured her that efforts would be made to find her son. A hurried meeting called by the Chief Minister of Punjab province, Shahbaz Sharif, was attended by the chief secretary, home secretary and inspector general of police. Police have apprehended two suspects who were allegedly shadowing Shahbaz.The case has clearly embarrassed the Punjab provincial police. Chief City Police Officer of Lahore, Malik Ahmed Raza, denied police negligence. He said Shahbaz did not use his security cordon of 17 policemen. Provincial law minister Rana Sanaullah blamed Shahbaz for leaving his security detail at home.advertisementThe Crime Investigation Branch says that 47 people were kidnapped for ransom last year. Thirteen people were kidnapped in the first three months of 2011. The principal suspects are militant groups who kidnap high value targets, such as businessmen, and use the ransom to purchase arms and ammunition from Afghanistan and Iran.last_img read more