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  • Every chicken was once an egg,

  • every oak tree an acorn,

  • every frog a tadpole.

  • The patch of mold on that old piece of bread

  • in the back of your fridge,

  • not so long ago that was one, solitary cell.

  • Even you were once but a gleam

  • in your parents' eyes.

  • All these organisms share

  • the same basic goal:

  • to perpetuate their own existence.

  • All lifeforms that we've discovered so far

  • stay alive by using

  • basically the same rules, materials, and machinery.

  • Imagine a factory full of robots.

  • These robots have two missions:

  • one, keep the factory running,

  • and two, when the time is right,

  • set up an entirely new factory.

  • To do those things,

  • they need assembly instructions,

  • raw materials,

  • plenty of energy,

  • a few rules about when to work normally,

  • when to work quickly,

  • or when to stop,

  • and some exchange currencies

  • because even robots need to get paid.

  • Each factory has a high security office with blueprints

  • for all the possible factory configurations

  • and complete sets of instructions

  • to make all the different types of robots

  • a factory could ever need.

  • Special robots photocopy these instructions

  • and send them off

  • to help make the building blocks of more robots.

  • Their colleagues assemble those parts

  • into still more robots,

  • which are transported

  • to the right location in the factory

  • and given the tools they need to start working.

  • Every robot draws energy

  • from the central power plant,

  • a giant furnace that can burn regular fuel

  • but also scrap materials

  • if not enough regular fuel is available.

  • Certain zones in the factory

  • have harsher working conditions,

  • so these areas are walled off.

  • But the robots inside can at least communicate

  • with the rest of the factory

  • through specialized portals

  • embedded directly into the walls.

  • And as you've probably figured out,

  • what we're describing here

  • is a cell.

  • The high security office is the nucleus.

  • It stores the blueprints and instructions

  • as deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA.

  • The photocopied instructions are RNA.

  • The robots themselves are mostly proteins

  • built from amino acids,

  • but they'll often use special tools

  • that are, or are derived from,

  • vitamins and minerals.

  • The walls between factory zones

  • and around the factory itself

  • are mostly made up of lipids,

  • a.k.a. fats.

  • In most organisms,

  • the primary fuel source are sugars,

  • but in a pinch,

  • fats and proteins can be broken down

  • and burned in the furnace as well.

  • The portals are membrane proteins

  • which allow very specific materials and information

  • to pass through the walls at the right times.

  • Many interactions between robot proteins

  • require some kind of push,

  • think robot minimum wage.

  • A few small but crucial forms of money

  • are transferred between proteins

  • to provide this push.

  • Electrons, protons, oxygen, and phosphate groups

  • are the main chemical currencies,

  • and they're kept in small molecular wallets

  • or larger tote bags to keep them safe.

  • This is biochemistry,

  • the study of how every part of the factory

  • interacts to keep your life running smoothly

  • in the face of extreme challenges.

  • Maybe there's too much fuel;

  • your body will store the excess as glycogen or fat.

  • Maybe there's not enough;

  • your body will use up those energy reserves.

  • Maybe a virus or bacteria tries to invade;

  • your body will mobilize the immune system.

  • Maybe you touched something hot or sharp;

  • your nerves will let you know so you can stop.

  • Maybe it's time to create a new cell

  • or a new person.

  • Amazingly, oak trees, chickens, frogs,

  • and, yes, even you

  • share so many of the same

  • basic robot and factory designs

  • that biochemists can learn a lot

  • about all of them

  • all at the same time.

Every chicken was once an egg,

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B1 中級

TED-ED】人生のオペレーティングシステム-ジョージ・ザイダンとチャールズ・モートン (【TED-Ed】The operating system of life - George Zaidan and Charles Morton)

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    阿多賓 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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