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Hot Topic Origins Origin & Evolution of Life
Worms in the Mist
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
The wriggling tracks of worm-like creatures can be found in rocks dating back nearly 600 million years ago. Such 'trace' fossils are fairly common in Cambrian rocks, but similar markings also have been found in much older rocks that formed long before multi-cellular mobile animals were supposed to have existed.

Preemies from the Precambrian
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
Scientists are using a miniaturized version of the medical CT scanner to look for clues to evolution in the fossilized embryos of some of Earth's earliest animals.

Biology's Theme Park: RNA World
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
When a laboratory recipe for life starts to look daunting, scientists have retreated to a test-tube for what they term 're-evolving evolution'. Their model is one of the template molecules for life, the counterpart to DNA itself, called RNA, which replicates a pattern for cell reproduction.

Life from the Heavens?
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
The scientific community has been impressed with the robustness of environments that can support life, ranging from Antarctic lakes to salt mines to nuclear reactors. But conventional wisdom has presumed that life traveling to Earth on a fiery meteor--if possible--would meet a quick sterilizing death.

Spying on Biodiversity
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
Monitoring of species which may have natural habitats in remote areas is no easy task. Using internet cameras, a group of Alaska biologists can keep warm, while watching the great outdoors.

Synchronizing Molecular Clocks
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
The frequency of changes in a species' genetic code acts like a kind of molecular clock, which can trace the branches of a family tree back to the original root. Evolutionary biologists are using molecular clocks to time how fast a species may be changing, and even when it might separate from its ancestral roots.

Shining Light on Life's Origin
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
When ultraviolet radiation was more intense than today, and the early Earth had a mix of nitrogen-rich molecules, how did this primordial soup get cooked? And how did it not burn? Scientists are asking the question: How did the fittest biomolecules survive, before life itself began?

Primordial Recipe: Spark and Stir
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
No single experiment, according to Carl Sagan, has done to convince scientists that life is 'likely abundant in cosmos' than work fifty years ago by then graduate student, Stanley Miller. This week celebrates his milestone publication, and Astrobiology Magazine interviewed him about his work and reflections today.

Redundant Evolution
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
Gene duplication in plants has led to new species, but scientist haven't known why and when such "carbon copies" of genes come to exist. A University of Georgia study published in the journal Nature tries to uncover why this divergence happens.

Beaming a Lifeform Musically
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
This week's celebrations for the fiftieth anniversary of the DNA double-helix highlights the rapid advances in genetic sequencing. These breakthroughs have allowed comparisons previously unavailable to those scientists who try to understand how such a complicated structure as DNA might have evolved.
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