Today's Elites

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The birth of a new protein and the genius of Leibniz

Here is a remarkable insight from one of the authors of the paper "Foldability of a Natural De Novo Evolved Protein": "Not having emerged as this glorious work of art makes it more believable that these protein-coding genes are popping up out of the genetic region between genes," Cordes said. "I want to know where things come from in life - how life creates novelty, how evolution creates novelty."

Add this innate creative capacity to Leibniz' perspective of monads with windows upon the universe. At that point you have something that is very much like artistic composition where apparently fixed elements of musical intervals or rhythmic versification allow an infinite array of potential de novo experiments establishing harmony. This is what Leibniz meant by pre-established harmony as the best of all possible worlds.

Possible shapes for the yeast protein Bsc4 that the computer algorithm QUARK predicted using only the protein’s amino acid sequences. (Image: Matthew Cordes, using UCSF Chimera molecular graphics package)

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