Thursday, 26 February 2015

Self-Replicating Factories in Bacteria

E. coli. Image courtesy of Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH.

Joel Kontinen

Recent research has suggested that there is no such thing as a simple organism.

Even the lowly Escherichia coli is anything but simple. A recent paper published in the journal PNAS compares the bacterium’s replication to a self-replicating factory:

Surprisingly, our analysis of recently measured datasets of E. coli exponentially growing in a stationary medium reveals that the measured distribution of doubling times fits well to the predicted distribution of doubling times of an optimally scheduled self-replicating factory. This suggests that E. coli is optimally scheduling its replication in these media.”

It might be needless to add that the paper had nothing to say about the assumed evolution of this replicating mechanism – or the evolution of anything else.

E. coli looks as if it has been designed to be effective.

It seems that all organisms that we know about are much more complex than scientists ever imagined. There’s plenty of evidence for design everywhere.


Pugatch, Rami. 2015. Greedy scheduling of cellular self-replication leads to optimal doubling times with a log-Frechet distribution. PNAS 112 (8): 2611–2616 (24 February).