If you were given an assignment as an engineer to create a living cell or any kind of organism or machine that emulates life, what would you need to do? Doug explains the chemistry that is behind life and looks at the barriers that scientists would need to ascend in order for its synthesis. The chemistry of proteins is just one of many complex processes that are beyond explanation. Amino acids, when they are synthesized, are produced in equal amounts of left-handed and right-handed isomers, but life only uses the left-handed variety. Since a protein averages over 400 amino acids in length, the odds of a protein being formed by chance is one in 10 with 123 zeros after it. This is like a snail moving the entire earth one molecule at a time one millimeter in a million years to the other side of the known universe and back, in a race with a protein factory producing random proteins at a rate of 400 tons a second. By the time a usable protein is produced, the entire known universe would be filled with proteins from the protein factory, and only one would be usable in life. This is only the beginning of problems for origin of life scenarios.


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