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Genomics and Cell Biology: November 2019


The abiotic synthesis of ribonucleotides is thought to have been an essential step towards the emergence of the RNA world.

To study the swiftness of biology - the protein chemistry behind every life function - scientists need to see molecules changing and interacting in unimaginably rapid time increments - trillionths of a second or shorter.

Two pathways diverged in a chemical synthesis, and one molecule took them both. Chemists at the University of Tokyo have studied how molecular building blocks can either form a spherical cage or an ultrathin sheet that shows some of the basic properties of a "smart" material that can respond to its environment.

Biology encodes information in DNA and RNA, which are complex molecules finely tuned to their functions. But are they the only way to store hereditary molecular information?