In 2016, the Venter Institute published their research into the smallest biological cell that could survive and reproduce itself under ideal laboratory conditions.
They took the single celled bacterium with the smallest known genome (DNA) and used a new technique, known as CRISPR, to remove its genes, one at a time. When a gene was cut out, if the bacterium died, that gene was vital to its life and they retained it in the bacteria. However, if when a gene was removed, the bacterium continued to live, divide and reproduce, that gene was not vital to the life of the cell, and could safely be left out of the genome. Fifty such genes were removed and the bacteria continued to live under ideal laboratory conditions with plenty of nutrients.
Venter’s team were left with the smallest possible living cell that could survive under ideal conditions. It had only 473 genes in its DNA, along with the gene switching mechanisms in the epigenome. This genome was then transferred to bacteria whose own DNA had been removed, but whose intricate apparatus for translating the information of the new genome into proteins, checking the fidelity of the reproducing genes, and turning nutrients into energy were retained. It is known as JVCIsyn3.0.
So how does this show that the secular idea of the spontaneous generation of life is wild fantasy.
Each gene has hundreds of thousands of units, called nucleotides, that code for making proteins. The order of the nucleotides is very precise. They carry the coded information. No human genius could begin to synthesise a gene. Our simplest cell has a genome with 473 such genes. This could not come about by chance giggling of non-living chemicals in a soup. Secularists say that over billions of years every combination of chemicals could occur, and some of it would make a reproducing ‘simple’ cell that natural selection could work on. The snag with this argument is that everything breaks down with time. It doesn’t build up to greater and greater complexity. This entropy law applies to non-living things like my car, and to living things like me. In my twenties I could jump over a wall, but 60 years later I hobble about on a walking stick.