A radical new theory claims that how we thought life began on Earth could be wrong. Most scientists back the'RNA world' hypothesis, a well established theory for how RNA molecules evolved to create proteins and DNA. However, a new study led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute instead says RNA and DNA evolved simultaneously four billion years ago. A new study led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute instead says RNA and DNA (pictured) may have evolved simultaneously four billion years ago. Researchers believe RNA and DNA may have arisen in tandem.
Life began in a pond or ocean, according to the Primordial Soup Theory. The theory suggests that life was the result of the mixing of a number of ingredients – rain, a jumble of common molecules, warm sunshine, and night-time cooling. Now experts believe the recipe also relied upon a'thickener' to help gene-like strands copy themselves in puddles for the first time. The earliest form of life is thought to have been based on RNA – a nucleic acid present in all living cells. The graphic above shows how RNA differs from DNA.
The'primordial soup' on Earth a billion years ago, which led to first life on our planet, might have been teeming with primal precursors of proteins. According to a new study, ancestors of the first protein molecules, which are key components of all cells, could have been plentiful on pre-life Earth. Researchers formed hundreds of possible precursor molecules in the lab, finding that the molecules formed quickly and abundantly under conditions that would have been common on pre-life Earth. The new NASA-affiliated research suggests that the first molecules of life may have arisen in variations of daily processes still observed on Earth today - for example the repeated drying and refilling of pond water. The study, led by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, involved forming hundreds of possible precursor molecules in the lab, and analyzing the molecules with new technology and algorithms.
God might just as well have begun with a toaster oven. A few years ago at a yard sale, Nicholas Hud spotted a good candidate: A vintage General Electric model, chrome-plated with wood-grain panels, nestled in an old yellowed box, practically unused. The perfect appliance for cooking up the chemical precursors of life, he thought. He bought it for $5. At home in his basement, with the help of his college-age son, he cut a rectangular hole in the oven's backside, through which an automated sliding table (recycled from an old document scanner) could move a tray of experiments in and out. He then attached a syringe pump to some inkjet printer parts, and rigged the system to periodically drip water onto the tray.
The early building blocks of life may have been created in a puddle 3.8 billion years ago. That's according to a new study that was able to produce missing links towards RNA – a precursor to life on Earth – using water. The research suggests that the conditions to start life may be more common than previously believed. The early building blocks of life may have been created in a puddle 3.8 billion years ago. That's according to a new study that was able to produce missing links towards RNA – a precursor to life on Earth – using water RNA, which stands for ribonucleic acid, is a molecule made up of one or more nucleotides.