“Natural Insecticide Recreated in the Lab” is the headline of an article in Biology News Net, 23 Aug 2007.

A team of British scientists has made a compound named azadirachtin, a substance that inhibits the development of a numerous destructive insects, but does not harm beneficial insects such as bees and ladybugs. The compound occurs naturally in the Neem, or Indian lilac tree. The structure of the molecule was worked out in 1985 and it has taken 22 years of dedicated research by the team led by Steven Ley at the University of Cambridge to work out how to make the molecule in the lab. It is a large, complicated molecule with 16 stereocentres, sites where two possible mirror image molecules, could fit but only one will work, a “complex pattern of oxygen-containing functional groups, and a conformation and reactivity that are strongly dependent on intramolecular bridging hydrogen bonds.”

Ley commented: “While we have been working on this complex synthesis we have also developed a number of new methods that are of general use for the construction of other important molecules.”

  Biology News Net

Editorial Comment: The scientists in the re-creation team deserve our congratulation, but why do they want to avoid the obvious – the One who originally created it without a copy to go by must be much cleverer.

Making this molecule took careful plan and purpose, involving the invention of new chemical techniques. It is foolish to believe that the Neem tree, or blind chance, did all this. Anyone involved in the 22 years of research now has no excuse for not acknowledging the Creator of the Neem tree and giving Him the honour due to His name.

Evidence News 10th October 2007

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