Origin and evolution of life

  • Researchers have uncovered important genetic clues about the history of archaea and the origins of life itself. The new study may indicate that the ability to make DNA formed late in life's evolution on Earth.
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  • New research examines how primitive cells could have evolved without structures like protein machinery or cell walls. The study could shed light on how the earliest forms of cellular life on Earth may have replicated.
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  • Researchers have discovered an important pair of prebiotic molecules in interstellar space, indicating that some basic chemicals that are key to the origin of life may have formed on dusty ice grains floating between the stars.
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  • Scientists have found 350-million-year-old fossils that contain intact organic molecules sealed in their pores. Prior to this discovery, it was thought that complex organic molecules couldn't survive fossilization.
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  • A new study could suggest that exposure to cold air may promote longevity in mammals.
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  • Scientists have reported that a pair of RNA-like molecules can spontaneously assemble into gene-length chains. A similar process may have led to the evolution of RNA and life itself billions of years ago.
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  • A new study shows that salmon may use the geomagnetic field to navigate across thousands of miles of open ocean to locate their river of origin.
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  • Scientists have proven that dung beetles use the Milky Way for orientation. The insects use the gradient of light to dark in the night sky to guide them as they roll their balls in a straight line.
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  • A new paper describes the peculiar adaptations exhibited by the bacterium E. coli when cells are exposed to a synthetic protein. The study is helping scientists understand how synthetic biology could be beneficial in areas such as medicine.
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  • 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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