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← Drew Berry: Animations of unseeable biology

SteveN's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by SteveN

As a biologist who also likes to dabble in 3D graphics for presentations, articles etc I am always astounded by both the beauty of (and the effort required by) videos such as these. I do have one little quibble, however. The speaker kept stating that the animations were accurate representations of events at the molecular level. This is not quite true. Although the structures of the molecules are presumably accurate, their movement in the videos is made to look too intentional and purposeful. In reality, the dyneins walking along the microtubicle (for example) almost certainly happens in a 'three steps forward, two steps back' kind of way. Similarly, the molecules homing in like guided missiles to the DNA replication machinery does not really reflect reality. There will actually be thousands of the things all bumping around randomly and if one happens by chance to line up to its target in the right way, then it will bind and initiate an interaction.

I realise that for the sake of clarity it is better to keep things simple, but insisting that the animations are an accurate representation of reality unfortunately plays into the hands of the ID proponents. Ben Stein famously used a rip-off of a similar animation in 'Expelled' to show how complex and 'designed' the molecular machinery of the cell is: therefore God.

Fri, 13 Jan 2012 12:37:30 UTC | #907896