Origin and evolution of life

  • Researchers have proved that four-stranded 'guadruple helix' DNA structures exist within the human genome. The finding could have implications in the treatment of cancer.
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  • A new study shows that multicellular cyanobacteria arose much earlier than previously believed. Multicellularity developed in cyanobacteria at almost the same time as the oxygenation of Earth's atmosphere, and around one billion years earlier than eukaryotes.
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  • Astrobiologists have built a series of glass tubes and valves with a laser and a detector system that mimics the conditions at hydrothermal vents. The system detects compounds coming from the simulated vent and will help determine if biologically important molecules are being formed.
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  • Origin of Life May Have Emerged From Bioenergetics
    For the first time, scientists have traced a pathway that leads from rocks, water and carbon to the emergence of the strange bio-energetic properties of living cells.
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  • A new study shows that diversity of marine fauna ballooned in response to climate fluctuations following Earth's largest known mass extinction. Over time, however, climate change adversely affected biodiversity and species went extinct.
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  • The astrobiology community deeply mourns the loss of Dr. Carl Woese, the University of Illinois microbiology professor credited with the discovery of a “third domain” of life. He died on Sunday, December 30th at his home. He was 84.
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  • A new study has removed Ediacaran fossils from the ancestry of animals. Ediacaran fossils are the oldest large multicellular fossils and have long been a scientific mystery.
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  • A new approach to the question of life's origin focuses not on the chemical 'hardware' of life, but instead the 'software' or information content.
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  • Scientists have discovered that water transforms into a previously unknown structure between a liquid and a vapor when in contact with alcohol molecules containing long, only chains. The findings could have implications in understanding numerous biological processes.
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  • Molecular biologist and complexity theorist, Stuart Kauffman, discusses his role in research taking place as part of the Origin of Life-CERN collaborative project. In February 2013, CERN is set to host private talks concerning the potential for origin of life research at the organization.
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