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Chemists on course to create RNA

May 15, 2009

An English chemist has found the hidden gateway to the RNA world, the chemical milieu from which the first forms of life are thought to have emerged on earth some 3.8 billion years ago. He has solved a problem that for 20 years has thwarted researchers trying to understand the origin of life — how the building blocks of RNA, called nucleotides, could have spontaneously assembled themselves in the conditions of the primitive earth.


To be fair – he has discovered how two out of the four required nucleotides would have come about through natural chemical reactions. The problem with nucleotide formation was that it was thought to be so unlikely as to be considered “miraculous” by some scientists. This is why his discovery is so significant.

His experiment is challenged by at least one scientist, as any theory ought to be. So we can be assured science is maintaining at least the minimal level of rigorous testing and revision.

Here’s a neat graphic from NYTimes explaining it. Click to enlarge.

This should be showing. Weird that it isn't.

FYI: I came across this story through this blog. Loved this line:

The origin of life has been a huge question since the subject got smart enough to ask it..

Always a pleasure to meet like minded folks.


From → Science News

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