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Astrobiology in the Folds
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
10/07/13
Astrobiologists have revealed new information about the structure of RNA molecules found in the ribosome of cells. The study indicates that long-accepted models of ribosomal RNA, which are used to study how ribosomes function, require some major updating.

Fossils Prove Flowers Appeared Much Earlier
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
10/06/13
Scientists have identified plant-like fossil pollen grains that are 100 million years older than previously reported fossil pollen.

Climate Puzzle Over Origins of Life on Earth
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
10/06/13
Scientists have ruled out one theory that attempts to explain how the Earth was warm enough for life to originate on Earth at a time when the Sun's energy was only three quarters of its current strength.

Scientists Create Artificial Cell Membranes
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
10/04/13
Scientists have developed a method for assembling membranes layer by layer to create synthetic cells. Their work could help astrobiologists understand how the first living cells originated.

A Microbe's Fountain of Youth
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
10/04/13
Researchers have found that, under the right conditions, the yeast S. pombe doesn’t grow old. The discovery provides insight into our understanding of aging, and shows that even some of the best-studied life forms can still have surprising qualities.

The Houses that Microbes Build
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
09/26/13
As the oldest evidence for life in the fossil record, stromatolites provide insights into the early evolution of life on Earth and serve as potential "biosignatures" when looking for life elsewhere. A recent paper highlights a different kind of microbe-created structure similar to stromatolites.

Did Autocells Lead to Life?
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
09/23/13
Terrence Deacon at the SETI Institute recently gave a talk that summarized how autogenesis could have bridged the gap between prebiotic and biotic systems. This process would need to start in conditions only present on the gas giants before being transferred to Earth, suggesting that the entire solar system was needed for life to form on our planet.

Mechanical Gears Seen for the First Time in Nature
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
09/18/13
A natural example of a functioning gear mechanism has been discovered in a common insect.

Challenging Assumptions About the Origin of Life
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
09/18/13
Scientists have proposed a new view on the origin of life on Earth. The study indicates that the 'RNA World' may have had a little help from proteins known as peptides.

Could Life Have Survived a Fall to Earth?
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
09/16/13
By firing frozen pellets of a single-celled algae into water, scientists are testing whether or not the organisms could survive a trip from space to the surface of a planet.

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