Artificial flagella made, as described in Nature, vol. 437, p862, 6 Oct 2005 and New Scientist. Flagella are hair-like structures that cells use to propel themselves by either rotating their flagella to produce a spiral movement along the hair, or beating them with a whip-like action which produces a series of bends that move from the base to the tip. A group of scientists led by Remi Dreyfus of Laboratories Colloides et Materiaux Divises, Paris, have constructed an artificial flagellum consisting of a chain of tiny colloidal magnetic particles which can be activated by placing it in an oscillating magnetic field. They attached the colloidal chain to a red blood cell, induced a beating movement in the chain, which propelled the cell along. By altering the magnetic field they could control the flagellum’s direction and speed.

Editorial Comment: The bacterial flagellum (the one that rotates) has been at the centre of the controversy over intelligent design. In the 2005 Dover court case, evolutionists insisted the flagellum arose by chance/naturalistic combination of the components that make it up. The flagellum described above is the product of creative design and engineering, and is not the result of the activities of its components. However, it is not as complex as the cellular flagellum either. Flagella in cells are controlled and powered from within the cell. When scientists can design and build a system that does this they will have proven that the whole cell, not only the flagellum, is the product of creative design and engineering. (Ref. biomimmicry, colloids, motility)