Spring loaded plankton inspire engineers, according to a report in New Scientist, 17 December 2005, p12. Danielle France of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has studied the way a pond dwelling protozoan named Vorticella convallaria attaches itself to surfaces such as rocks and leaves by a stalk called a spasmoneme. If the cell is disturbed the spasmoneme quickly contracts into a coiled spring shape and pulls the cell close to its attachment site. The spasmoneme is made up of six proteins and is triggered when the cell releases calcium ions. France's team has identified which of the proteins responds to the calcium signal and is working on building an artificial spring by linking spasnomeme proteins to polyethylene fibres. For its size the spasmoneme is very strong and bioengineers hope that a man-made version could be used to operate miniaturised devices for delivering drugs inside the body.

Editorial Comment: If the MIT engineers do succeed in making a microscopic spring loaded device they need to admit they will only have made a copy of an already existing device. Creationists believe that human scientists can make devices similar to those found in living cells because we are made in the image of the Creator. We can make devices that work in a similar way to those made by the Creator because we are like, (but less than), our Creator. If the MIT engineers believe the alga built the attachment spring itself, rather than being made by a creator outside the cell, do they consistently believe that MIT engineers have needed all that Uni training to achieve the same level of intelligence as pond scum? (Ref. biotechnology, microbiology, nanotechnology)


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