Four Cellular Components

Addressing Abiogenesis & Common Misconceptions

​Key Highlights

  1. The four compounds required to build a cell are lipids, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, and amino acids.
  2. Besides the four compounds to build a cell, specified information (DNA) and assembly instructions are required.
  3. What are the functions of lipids, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, and amino acids?
  4. What is the difference between DNA and RNA?
  5. While DNA is replicated, a proofreader complex acts as a "spell corrector" to insure the four nucleotide bases (A,T,C,G) are in the correct order, so that the error is corrected.
  6. The four required compounds do require instructions, but in evolution there is no mechanism to determine the order, etc. as written.

The formation of a cell requires four compounds:

  1. Lipids
  2. Carbohydrates
  3. Nucleic acids
  4. Amino acids

​These are the materials required for a cell. To make a cell also requires:

  • Specified information, think DNA
  • Assembly by machines (proteins) of living cell, how to assemble the four compounds.

​About 99% of a living cell is composed of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulphur.

Lipids are fats which normally consist of any of a diverse group of organic compounds including fats, oils, hormones, and certain components of membranes that are grouped together because they do not interact appreciably with water. These membrane lipids are made up of mostly hydrogen and carbon as hydrocarbon, as well as oxygen, phosphorous and nitrogen. Lipids are defined by behavior rather than a precise structure. Phospholipids are lipids that contain the phosphate group (7). Since lipids are more energy dense than carbohydrates and proteins, their formation is a problem for origin for life scenarios because high energy compounds are less likely to form than lower energy compounds.

A cell membrane consists of 40,000 lipids molecules of several types. How were these 40,000 lipids formed? In what order were they formed? The inside and outside of the cell membrane are constructed differently. How and why did this occur? We do not know.

The real question here is: How did non-lipids enter and leave the cell without specific protein machines in the membrane to allow and control their entrance around it?

Carbohydrates are sugars of a large group of organic compounds that includes sugars, starch, and cellulose, containing hydrogen and oxygen in the same ratio as water (2:1) and used as structural materials and for energy storage within living tissues. Carbohydrates can be very complex in their millions of possible structures and bonds. They also are vital for DNA with the sugar deoxyribose. Carbohydrates are the most complex component of a cell. Years ago, when I wrote an Apple Basic software program, the resulting printout was not correct. I spent a lot of time trying to figure it out. The problem was a semicolon instead of a colon. A very simple problem. So, it is with carbohydrate formation, the correct order and spatial relationship is vital.

​D-pentose is a sugar that is a part of DNA. Six D-pentose bases can combine in one trillion different ways, and only one is correct for the DNA. While DNA contains an enormous amount of information, carbohydrates can contain more information. Carbohydrates are building blocks for DNA, are monomeric sugars and encode information. In a different context DNA is composed of nucleotides and which contain a nitrogenous base a deoxyribose molecule and a phosphate group. Ribose is especially problematic. It is an unstable sugar which breaks down quickly and in the real world at near-neutral pH, neither acid nor alkaline.

Nucleic acids are in the form of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid). DNA and RNA are molecules consisting of many nucleotides linked in a long chain. The structure of DNA consists of four amino acids (bases): adenine, guanine, thymine and cytosine, in the nucleotides. These are often abbreviated as, A, G, T and C. It is the order of these bases that determines what biological instructions occur. For example, ATGTCG may instruct for blue eyes while CTAGCA may instruct for brown eyes, although it is much more complicated than this. A strand of DNA is formed with the four nucleotide bases linked by phosphates and sugars in groups in alternating patterns. Logically before RNA is made, before the nucleotides are make, the 5-pentose sugar D-Ribose must be made. Nobody knows how the Ribose sugar was formed. 

DNA, is a molecule that contains the genetic instructions for the development and functioning of all living organisms. It serves as the blueprint for life and carries the information that determines the traits and characteristics of an individual. Here are some key points to help you understand DNA: 

1. Structure: DNA is made up of two long strands that are twisted together to form a double helix. These strands are composed of smaller units called nucleotides, which consist of a sugar molecule, a phosphate group, and one of four nitrogenous bases.

 2. Genes: DNA is organized into units called genes, which are responsible for specific traits or functions. Genes contain the instructions for creating proteins, which are the building blocks of cells and carry out various tasks in the body. 

3. DNA replication: Before a cell divides, its DNA must be replicated to ensure that each new cell receives a complete set of genetic information. During replication, the two strands of DNA separate, and each strand serves as a template for the synthesis of a new complementary strand. 

4. Genetic code: The order of the nitrogenous bases along a DNA strand forms the genetic code. This code determines the sequence of amino acids in a protein, which in turn influences an organism's traits and characteristics. 

5. Inheritance: DNA is passed from parents to offspring, allowing the transmission of genetic information across generations. Understanding DNA is crucial for various fields of study, including genetics, biology, medicine, and forensic science. 

Because when forming DNA and the millions of different ways it can be made, there are more ways to get it wrong than to get it right. Think about a bike lock with 10 dials instead of the normal 4 dials. What is the probability that a person could crack the code for that bike lock? Ten to the 10th power, or 1 followed by 10 zeros. A crazy big number.

For a video of DNA transcription, click here.

For a video of the differences between DNA and RNA, click here .

​​"how did the functionally specified information in DNA arise? Is this striking appearance of design the product of actual design or a natural process that can mimic the powers of a designing intelligence?" ... building a living cell in the first place requires assembly instructions stored in DNA or some equivalent molecule." Stephen Meyer (6)

The problem of the origin-of-life is clearly basically equivalent to the problem of the origin of biological information.” Bernd-Olaf Küppers (5)

​As stated previously, information comes from a mind.

​DNA contains about 3.2 billion bases and about 20,000 genes on 23 pairs of chromosomes in humans. An RNA molecule in water at room temperature has a life of about 4 hours to interact with another molecule.​ Also consider the improbability of two amino acids bonding in water. Biological information is in the form of 3.2 billion bits of information, in the right order for life. No body knows how this happened apart from the God of the Bible.

Protein synthesis consists of two processes, transcription and translation. Transcription takes place in the nucleus. During transcription, DNA is used to make a molecule of messenger RNA (mRNA). mRNA then leaves the nucleus and goes to a ribosome in the cytoplasm, where translation occurs. During translation, the genetic code in mRNA is read and used to make a polypeptide. These two processes are summed up by: DNA → RNA → Protein. Transcription is the transfer of genetic instructions in DNA to mRNA. During transcription, a strand of mRNA is made to complement a strand of DNA.

​​The 3 Types of RNA and Their Functions

Three main types of RNA are involved in protein synthesis. They are messenger RNA (mRNA), transfer RNA (tRNA), and ribosomal RNA (rRNA). All three RNA molecules need to be present at the same time for proper cell functioning. This could not have happened by unguided numerous successive mutations.

  1. ​mRNA or Messenger RNA. transcribes the genetic code from DNA into a form that can be read and used to make proteins. mRNA carries genetic information from the nucleus to the cytoplasm of a cell.
  2. rRNA or Ribosomal RNA. is located in the cytoplasm of a cell after it is produced in the nucleus where ribosomes are found. rRNA directs the translation of mRNA into proteins.
  3. tRNA or Transfer RNA. Like rRNA, tRNA is located in the cellular cytoplasm and is involved in protein synthesis. Transfer RNA brings or transfers specific amino acids to the ribosome that corresponds to each three-nucleotide codon of rRNA. The amino acids then can be joined together and processed to make polypeptides which is another name for proteins. A codon, in the realm of molecular biology, is a sequence of three nucleotides within DNA or RNA that corresponds to a specific amino acid or serves as a regulatory signal in protein synthesis. The very essence of life’s continuity across generations hinges on the processes of replication, transcription, and translation of the genetic code harbored within DNA and RNA.

After a polypeptide chain is synthesized, it may undergo additional processes. It may assume a folded shape due to interactions between its amino acids. It may also bind with other polypeptides or with different types of molecules, such as lipids or carbohydrates. Many proteins travel to the Golgi apparatus within the cytoplasm to be modified for a specific job. BCcampus 

Amino acids are compounds containing both a carboxyl group (—COOH) and an amino group (—NH2) as well as a side chain that is specific to the individual amino acid. A protein is a series of amino acids that are bonded together by a process called polymerization. The elements found in all amino acids are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, but two different side chains contain sulfur as well. The side chains are called R groups and give chemical properties to amino acids. Amino acids form proteins, some proteins form enzymes and many other molecules includes DNA

Enzymes are generally catalysts for synthesis of biological molecules, and they are large proteins. They also encode information. To correct any assembly errors, DNA has enzymes that are "spell correctors" that proofread DNA as part of the replication process by verifying the correct order of bases. This helps prevent mutations.​

​The four gases that make up DNA are Adenine, Thymine, Guanine and Cytosine (A, T, G, C). In the double helix DNA, Adenine pairs up with Thymine and Guanine pairs up with Cytosine. Also, part of the DNA is ribose (a sugar) and a phosphate group. Questions arise; how were the four gases originally formed, and was this a repeatable occurrence? How was the bonding created considering A and T have 2 hydrogen bonds and G and C have three hydrogen bonds.

How could monomers (building blocks) like amino acids or nucleotides have assembled into polymers, or actual biological macromolecules, on early Earth? In cells today, polymers are put together by enzymes. But, since the enzymes themselves are polymers, this is kind of a chicken-and-egg problem! Khan Academy, (4)

​It is not just sugars (carbohydrates) and nucleic acids that make up life, but life is composed of polymers. Protein is a polymer of amino acids, polysaccharides are a polymer of sugars and DNA and RNA are polymers of nucleotides (nucleic acids).

​In the challenge of creating molecules, yeast cells have protein to protein binding with 3,000 proteins. There are 10 to the 79th billionth power of combinations possible. In the entire universe the number of atoms is 10 to the 90th power. That is 10 followed by 90 zeros. To show the irreducible complexity of making DNA and RNA, consider that the amino acid cytosine must be present. Without it, no DNA or RNA. For a video of protein synthesis click here.

​The physical DNA is useless unless it is translated and leads to the production of proteins. There are 50 macromolecular components that are encoded in the DNA polymerase. The DNA cannot be translated without this complex. Were the 50 macromolecules a step-by-step process of cell evolution?

​There are four levels of protein structure:

  1. Primary structure. The protein is assembled in a polypeptide chain.
  2. Secondary structure. Formation of alpha helics and beta pleated sheets
  3. Tertiary structure. The protein obtains its 3D structure due to hydrophilic (attracted to water); and hydrophobic (repels water) interactions between the R groups and back bone.
  4. Quaternary structure. The combining of more than one peptide chain, and hydrogen and other bonds keep the protein chains together.

​No body knows the blueprint for this assembly process. Proteins can be from 150 to 3,000 amino acids long. The smallest known protein has 44 amino acids, and a small protein is considered to be 150 amino acids long.

Enzymes also aid in protein folding. Protein disulfide isomerase creates the disulfide bonds which in part give the tertiary structures their shape. These special proteins help chemical reactions to happen, acting as catalysts.

​To date, approximately 75,000 enzymes are thought to exist in the human body—all divided into three classes: metabolic enzymes that run our bodies, catabolic enzymes that digest our food, and anabolic enzymes that build molecules. How did 75,000 different enzymes form from slight unguided mutations?

A reason so many enzymes exist is that various metabolic functions require a whole complex of enzymes to complete a large number of reactions. Individual enzymes are named by adding the suffix “-ase” to the name of the substrate with which the enzyme reacts; for example, the enzyme amylase controls the breakdown of amylose (starch).

​While Darwin (2) thought life began in a small warm pool somewhere, and some scientists today think deep thermal vents in the ocean could have been the location or first life, in reality water hinders the amino/protein/ enzyme bonding process. A formed protein can only last 13 days before it degrades, and water accelerates this degrading process.

​Not only do the 20 amino acids need to be linked in the correct order, but they must make a three-dimensional folded version to perform their biological functions. The shape of the fold determines the function of the protein. These 3D protein molecules act as enzymes to enter into cellular actions. Just like bricks in our houses that are placed in a specific pattern, so also proteins are made into specific links and folds. A mutation in the DNA takes information away, it does not add to it.

​Since DNA makes proteins and proteins make DNA, and the code (information) is in the DNA, did the cells write the code? Computer programmers write software code. Who/What writes the DNA code? Evolutionists say it just appeared; nothing caused it. Scientists are seeking ways to manipulate the protein folding to obtain specific outcomes. Protein misfolding can lead to diseases such as Alzheimer's and diabetes. The problems are finding the folding code, the folding mechanism (these are the result of the amino acid sequence), and the prediction of its shape based on the amino acid sequence.

​In living organisms structural and enzymatic proteins are made up entirely of left-handed amino acids and determine the protein folding. Whereas DNA and RNA are made up right-handed amino acids. This is called homochirality, right-handed sugars and left-handed amino acids.

What is a molecule?

A molecule is two or more elements linked by covalent bonds to each other. Think about H2O, two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. A little more complex molecule is table sugar, C22H22O11.  Molecules do not move toward life.

​In the idea of abiogenesis, molecules formed into carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids, and amino acids. Since chemical evolution does not have an end goal, how did the chemical molecules evolution know when to stop evolving?  Why did it not continue, or even now, continue to evolve? No body knows.

What is a chemical bond?

A chemical bond is a lasting attraction between atoms or ions that enables the formation of molecules. When atoms interact with one another, their electrons interact and tend to distribute themselves in space so that the total energy is lower than it would be in any alternative arrangement. There are different types of chemical bonds in DNA and proteins, including ionic bonds, covalent bonds, and metallic bonds. The most common bond is a covalent and it is the strongest. (1)

​Changing atoms' boding changes the structure and function of a molecular compound. The result is a more stable macromolecule as a result of shared electrons as in an example of ionic bonding is salt, AKA and sodium chloride. Sodium has one extra electron and chlorine is missing one electron. By giving the extra electron to chlorine, the result is salt sodium develops a positive charge, and so is strongly attracted to the now negatively charged ion. 


  1. BCcampus
  2. Bing Chat
  3. Darwin, Charles. On the Origin of Species.
  4. Helmenstine, Anne Marie. The 3 Types of RNA and Their Functions,
  5. Khan Academy, Hypotheses about the origins of life
  6. Küppers, Bernd-Olaf. Information and the origin of life,1990, 170-172
  7. Meyer. Stephen. Signature in the Cell: Intelligent Design and the DNA Enigma, Research and Analysis, 2012
  8. Tour, James. YouTube

DNA replication

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DNA replication