Well, they have a new treat for us. They've just put out a press release announcing a paper by Rhawn Joseph and N. Chandra Wickramasinghe, with the title Genetics Indicates Extra-terrestrial Origins for Life: The First Gene. Did life Begin Following the Big Bang? (scroll down past the flashy ads to see the text).
Here's the top of Dr. Joseph's web page. You really must click on it and scroll down, to see the full glory of his accomplishments (and read his poetry...). Be sure to also click on the link to his censored paper titled Sexual Consciousness: The Evolution of Breasts, Buttocks and the Big Brain.
Wickramasinghe's bio is here; sadly it's not nearly as over-the-top as Joseph's.
Anyway, about the paper. Here's the data:
Yes, if you make the not-entirely-unreasonable assumption that the gene numbers typical of modern organisms were also typical of the first members of these clades, you can plot gene number as a function of time. Of course you can fit a line to these points, and if you also make the totally unreasonable assumption that changes in gene number have always been governed by a molecular clock, you can claim that this line shows the changes in gene number over time. You can extrapolate your line back to zero genes, and if you make the absurd assumption that this hypothetical gene-number clock applies before the origin of life on Earth, you can conclude that the first gene arose 10^10 - 10^13 years ago, close to the time of the Big Bang.
(Why are there three graphs? Well, the three graphs use different earliest (hypothetical) data points, of course. I suppose the only reason that they didn't put the two earliest points in the bottom graph into two different graphs was that a line using the 'first eukaryote' value would have extrapolated back to before the Big Bang!)