With a motor structure of drive shaft, rotor, bushings, propeller, and a rotational speed of about 20,000 rpm, the bacterial flagellum of the E. coli bacteria has become the veritable mascot of intelligent design. This molecular machine has been called “irreducibly complex” by Michael Behe and other biologists, meaning that the flagellum poses an obstacle to step-by-step Darwinian evolutionary processes. At the same time, this nano-motor structure has the type of intricate, precise, and efficient molecular arrangements that are exemplary in showing the striking similarities between technological structures known to be caused by intelligence, and the type of complexity found in living cells.
This three dimensional image of one of the quickest and most efficient machines in the known universe was created using Sketchup3D, based on the structural descriptions of Howard C. Berg and other biologists. Rendering a three-dimensional image can be tedious, this particular work taking about thirteen hours. The result of this rendering process is a unique visual expression of one of the most amazing examples of molecular motors to be found in the biological world.
For more information, and a version with protein labels, visit ResearchID.org.