Imagine that your life depends upon your finding one particular molecule among all the molecules that make up our galaxy, the Milky Way? Oh, and you are blindfolded. What are the odds?
Well, according to molecular biologist Douglas Axe, who did the calculations, your odds of choosing the right molecule out of all the molecules that make up the Milky Way are actually better than the odds of random genetic changes to produce something new, even something as modest as a new protein function?
Axe, who received his PhD from CalTech in chemical engineering, puts it this way: “We ask how rare or how common functional proteins are within the space of possibilities. Doing experiments and calculations, we found that they are exceedingly rare, like one in 10 to the 74th power rare.”