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The Astrobiology of Cancer
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
02/09/11
Scientists may have an explanation for cancer's uncanny ability to evade our bodies' defenses. Cancer cells deploy many tricks to survive - tricks that rely on genetic pathways dating back billions of years to the time of the first multicellular life.

Unexpected Exoskeleton Remnants
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
02/08/11
Scientists have discovered that organisms evolved to use chitin as a structural component of their bodies much earlier than previously thought. The study included astrobiologists, and can help us understand the history and evolution of life on Earth.

Amoebae That Practice Agriculture
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
02/08/11
Scientists have discovered that one type of amoebae increases its odds of survival through a rudimentary form of agriculture. The behavior highlights a unique method by which the organisms increase their ability to survive and evolve.

An Alternate DNA Structure
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
02/02/11
Scientists have discovered that on rare occasions, DNA takes on a different shape than its typical helix structure. This could mean that 'multiple layers' of information are stored in the genetic code.

The Cold Facts of a Mass Extinction
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
01/30/11
Researchers have discovered new details surrounding the second-largest mass extinction in Earth's history. The new study shows that a loss of more than 75 percent of species in the world's oceans may have been linked to a cooling climate.

Evolution by Mistake
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
01/28/11
New research shows that the methods organisms use to deal with mistakes made when their genetic code is interpreted greatly influences their ability to evolve. The findings are useful for astrobiologists who are studying cellular mechanisms that control and limit the evolution of life.

Dating the Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
01/26/11
Long-held theories about how dinosaurs became dominant on Earth some 230 million years ago may have to be re-written. A new study shows that when dinosaurs appeared, they may have co-existed with other animals rather than replacing them on the food chain.

The Smoking Gun for Earth's Biggest Extinction
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
01/25/11
New research shows that massive volcanic eruptions may have played a role in one of Earth's largest mass extinction events. Many theories have been put forth about the causes of the Permian extinction, but now scientists may have found an answer.

RNA, the Game
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
01/15/11
A new video game is teaching gamers the principles for designing molecules of RNA. Each week, the top designs from the game will be synthesized in a biochemistry lab for scientists to study. RNA is one of the key regulators in living cells. Studying RNA can teach astrobiologists about some of life's most basic mechanisms.

Mass Extinctions Linked to Loss of Diversity
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
01/14/11
Two of the greatest mass extinctions in Earth's history may have been caused by the loss of diversity in the oceans. New research shows that the die-off of species may have ultimately led to the collapse of marine ecosystems. The study could be an ominous warning for the future of life on Earth as modern ocean diversity begins to dwindle.

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