Monday, 6 June 2016

Intelligent Design in Us: Our Cells React Intelligently to Environmental Cues

Anatomy of a Cell. Image courtesy of BruceBlaus, staff. Blausen gallery 2014. Wikiversity Journal of Medicine, Creative Commons (CC BY 3.0).

Joel Kontinen

Our eyes focus automatically and adjust to gradual changes in light /darkness. Science knows of many other ways in which our bodies react to internal and/or environmental cues.

A new paper published in the journal Nature Communications looks at how synthetic circuits can be prodded to perform complex computations. A report posted on says:

Synthetic biological systems … have tended to focus on either analogue or digital processing, limiting the range of applications for which they can be used.”

In other words, they are not as efficient or resilient as authentic biological cells.

But now a team of researchers at MIT has developed a technique to integrate both analogue and digital computation in living cells, allowing them to form gene circuits capable of carrying out complex processing operations.”

Darwinian mechanisms cannot improve living systems, but when it comes to design, it’s an entirely different story.

The researchers realised that our cells are able to respond intelligently to signals coming from their surroundings. They hope to make use of this natural ability to monitor glucose levels in blood or inflammation levels in the gut.

There is little if anything haphazard or random in the way our cells respond to environmental signals. The ensuing changes are definitely not of the Darwinian type.

Intelligence runs the show.

Evolution does not design. In contrast, we see signs of amazing design, organization, complexity, designed features and even beauty almost everywhere, including us.


Knight, Helen. 2016. Gene circuits in live cells can perform complex computations (3 June).