Synthetic cilia made, according to a report in New Scientist Tech, 13 April 2007.
Cilia are microscopic hair-like structures that project from the surfaces of cells. Large numbers of them are found in the linings of airways where they are used to sweep the layer of fluid that lines the airways away from the lungs. This process helps keeps micro-organisms out of the lungs.
I n order to understand how the cilia are moved scientists are University of North Carolina have made artificial cilia out of a flexible polymer containing iron oxide particles. These can be bent using an electromagnet. The scientists then used computer simulations to stimulate the artificial cilia so that their movements are similar to real cilia, which curl over when they are bent in one direction, but stay straight when bent in another. They are now working on getting the cilia to work in fluid similar to that lining the lungs.
Richard Superfine, who led the study commented to New Scientist, “What we view as the most profound contribution is to our understanding of biology. There’s very little understanding currently of how an individual cilium, or fields of cilia, move fluids.”
Editorial Comment: When scientists do understand how cilia work in fluid, they will have gained a small amount of knowledge that the Creator of real cilia already had. If they then succeed in making artificial cilia that work in fluid they will have proven that it takes knowledge and creative engineering to make functioning cilia. They don’t come about by chance random processes.
Evidence News 17 May 2007