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Author Topic:   first genetic material
Member (Idle past 5241 days)
Posts: 961
From: A wheatfield in Kansas
Joined: 04-14-2005

Message 80 of 84 (508528)
05-14-2009 4:18 PM

New Evidence
Just a bit of breaking news to get the discussion back on topic.
An article is about to be published in Nature on thursday describing a landmark breakthrough in chemistry. The authors have pieced together how to obtain natural generation (read chemistry that can happen pretty much by itself) of 2 of the 4 nucleotides that form RNA, now generally believed to precede DNA as the original molecule of life. You can read about it here:
Chemist Shows How RNA Can Be the Starting Point for Life
An excerpt for those averse to news subscriptions:
An English chemist has found the hidden gateway to the RNA world, the chemical milieu from which the first forms of life are thought to have emerged on earth some 3.8 billion years ago...
For more than 20 years researchers have been working on this problem. The building blocks of RNA, known as nucleotides, each consist of a chemical base, a sugar molecule called ribose and a phosphate group. Chemists quickly found plausible natural ways for each of these constituents to form from natural chemicals. But there was no natural way for them all to join together.
The spontaneous appearance of such nucleotides on the primitive earth would have been a near miracle, two leading researchers, Gerald Joyce and Leslie Orgel, wrote in 1999. Others were so despairing that they believed some other molecule must have preceded RNA and started looking for a pre-RNA world.
The miracle seems now to have been explained. In the article in Nature, Dr. Sutherland and his colleagues Matthew W. Powner and Batrice Gerland report that they have taken the same starting chemicals used by others but have caused them to react in a different order and in different combinations than in previous experiments. they discovered their recipe, which is far from intuitive, after 10 years of working through every possible combination of starting chemicals.

Replies to this message:
 Message 82 by JRTjr, posted 11-14-2009 10:36 AM EZscience has not replied

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