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Life's First Spark Re-Created in the Laboratory

Thanks to Shaden for the link.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/05/ribonucleotides/

A fundamental but elusive step in the early evolution of life on Earth has been replicated in a laboratory.

Researchers synthesized the basic ingredients of RNA, a molecule from which the simplest self-replicating structures are made. Until now, they couldn’t explain how these ingredients might have formed.

“It’s like molecular choreography, where the molecules choreograph their own behavior,” said organic chemist John Sutherland of the University of Manchester, co-author of a study in Nature Wednesday.

RNA is now found in living cells, where it carries information between genes and protein-manufacturing cellular components. Scientists think RNA existed early in Earth’s history, providing a necessary intermediate platform between pre-biotic chemicals and DNA, its double-stranded, more-stable descendant.

Continue reading:
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/05/ribonucleotides/

Also see:
RNA world easier to make - Nature
Molecule of life emerges from laboratory slime - New Scientist
HOW RNA GOT STARTED - Science News
Found: the origin of life - The Independent
Chemist Shows How RNA Can Be the Starting Point for Life - NY Times

TAGGED: BIOLOGY, CHEMISTRY, EVOLUTION


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