Tiny structural errors in proteins may have been responsible for changes that sparked complex life, researchers say.
A comparison of proteins across 36 modern species suggests that protein flaws called “dehydrons” may have made proteins less stable in water. This would have made them more adhesive and more likely to end up working together, building up complex function.
The study in Nature suggests natural selection may not be the only means by which higher organisms came into being. Natural selection is a theory with no equal in terms of its power to explain how organisms and populations survive through the ages; random mutations that are helpful to an organism are maintained while harmful ones are bred out.
The theory is less convincing in its attempts to explain the enormous jumps in organism complexity, however. Single-celled life gave rise to more complex organisms, and with them came complicated networks of gene and protein interactions.
Read more here Protein flaws responsible for complex life, study says.