Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It was heralded as decisive proof of the theory of evolution. But Harvard biologist and Nobel Prize laureate Jack Szostak now has retracted a major paper that claimed to explain one of the most important questions about the origin of human life.
In 2016, Szostak published a paper claiming he had found a way for ribonucleic acid (RNA) to replicate itself.
Many proponents of evolutionary theory believe RNA was one of the first molecules to develop. However, RNA requires its own enzymes to replicate.
Szostak and others were looking for evidence of “non-enzymatic replication of RNA,” which could supposedly assemble by irradiating materials that would have been present on Earth in an earlier time.
If this could be created, it would show RNA could copy itself and could have evolved before DNA or proteins, bolstering the naturalistic explanation of life’s origins.
However, Szostak recently retracted his paper after colleague Tivoli Olsen couldn’t replicate the findings. Szostak said the debacle was “definitely embarrassing.”