Origins

  • Leaving No Stone Unturned
    Kimberley Warren-Rhodes has spent countless hours in some of the world´s driest deserts, turning over rocks. Tens of thousands of rocks. What is she hoping to find? The pattern of life.
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  • Liquid Crystal Life
    Scientists studying ultrashort DNA molecules have provided a new scenario for how life may have originated on Earth. The team found that short segments of DNA are able to assemble into distinct liquid crystal phases. The research may help us understand how life could have
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  • Living Time Capsules
    Researchers have thawed ice from Antarctica that is at least a million years old to search for eons-old microorganisms. The microbes may have survived in total darkness, freezing cold and without food or energy from the Sun.
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  • Bugs Bigger Than Man
    Scientists have discovered a 390 million year old fossil of a sea scorpion that, when alive, would have been taller than the average human. The discovery provides a unique insight into the evolutionary history of life, and shows that creatures similar to spiders and insects
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  • Life’s Lubricant
    For the first time, scientists have observed the role that water lubricants play in the functioning of proteins. The research sheds light on how proteins perform functions to support life, and may yield clues about the inner workings of early life on our planet.
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  • Modular Life
    New research shows that a changing environment may organize the structure of genetic information. The unique research may shed light on how life's precursor molecules eventually led to the formation of the first organisms on our planet.
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  • Jumping Viruses
    A new study in the hot pools of Yellowstone shows that microbial viruses may be traveling from pool to pool along with steam. The research on these extreme habitats for unique life may shed light on how microbes, and the viruses that infect them, impact
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  • Deep Drilling for
    Researchers are preparing for a deep-drilling project in Iceland where they will study the processes in deep, hot rocks below the terrestrial surface. Through the study, they also hope to learn more about 'black smoker' hydrothermal vents in the ocean, which are known to support
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  • Building Life on Earth
    Scientists have suggested a new theory for how the chemical constituents essential to life arose on the early Earth. They've shown that simple molecules can combine to form the building blocks of DNA through chemistry rather than biology.
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  • Life’s Early Vision
    Scientists have discovered the early origin of genes for vision in animals.
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  • 30 Rings on the Tree of Life
    Thirty years ago this month, researchers identified the unique domain of life known as archaea. These organisms inhabit some of the harshest environments on Earth, and astrobiologists study many of them as analogs for how life might survive on other planets.
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  • Life’s Hot Spot
    Thousands of new kinds of microbes have been discovered living around hydrothermal vents off the Oregon coast. The new study has also yielded clues about how deep-sea microbial communities are connected to the global climate of Earth.
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  • Getting a Taste of Space
    Samples of microorganisms and antibodies will be sent into near-Earth orbit this week and exposed to the extreme conditions of space. Such experiments can indicate whether life could travel in meteorites from one planet to another.
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  • The Protocell Project
    At the Los Alamos National Laboratory, scientists are trying to create artificial life. In this interview, Hans Ziock discusses the progress made so far, and the steps that still need to be taken for life to arise in the lab.
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  • When the Parasite Becomes the Host
    Scientists have found a bacterial parasite that has inserted a copy of its genome into the genome of its host. The finding demonstrates the transfer of genes between unrelated species, and could have profound implications for our understanding of evolution.
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