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Hot Topic Origins Origin & Evolution of Life
 
How Life Shatters Chemistry's Mirror
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
04/06/09
Handedness, or "chirality," is when molecules come in two forms that are mirror images of each other, like right- and left-handed gloves. Even though chiral molecules are produced equally in nature, life seems to prefer one hand over the other. The reason for this is a mystery that scientists are struggling to answer.

Life´s Crystal Code
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
03/19/09
What do we have in common with a crystal chandelier? We´re both made of material that replicates its own structure. In our case it´s DNA, while the crystals in the chandelier grew from minerals like quartz. One scientist thinks for early life on Earth, certain mineral crystals played the role that DNA does for us today.

Digging up Ancient Microbes
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
10/02/08
Limestone from Namibia has biomarkers that indicate a community of microbes oxidized methane at least 300 million years ago. Such biomarkers can provide clues to the history of life on Earth, and could help scientists search for signs of life on other worlds.

Ancient Footprints in the Salt
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
07/31/08
Scientists have discovered fibers from ancient organisms preserved inside salt crystals in New Mexico. The surprising finding could help astrobiologists search for signs of life on other planets.

Machine Evolution
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
07/21/08
Many scientists believe that life started out as nothing more than strands of proto-genetic material known as RNA. A new device automates studies of RNA evolution and could lend insights into the origin of life on Earth.

How Did Life Get Started?
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
03/10/08
How did life get started? A growing body of evidence favors an "RNA World" as an early stage of life, before DNA assumed its present role as the molecule that stores genetic information.

The Origin of Life: First Steps
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
07/09/07
One of the biggest puzzles in astrobiology is how did life emerge on Earth, and under what conditions might it arise on other planetary bodies? From Astrobiology Magazine, European Edition is a review of "From Suns to Life," which investigates the various pieces of this puzzle.

Phosphate Does a Body Good?
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
06/11/07
To better understand what caused life to evolve or die out in the past, scientists are studying the chemistry of the fossil record. Jim Elser thinks phosphate may have played a key role in the Cambrian explosion and the mass extinction that preceded it.

Priming the Human Primate
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
02/19/05
Sharing ninety-nine percent of a chimpanzee's DNA code does not tell the story of its distance from humans, according to a new report in Science Magazine. The code itself is just part of the story. The cut points or hotspots that combine mates to yield the next generation may determine the difference between species.

Earliest Bilateral Fossil Discovered
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
06/05/04
Scientists have reported that bilateral animals appeared 600 million years ago, about 50 million years before the Cambrian Explosion.
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