Recently in the Origin & Evolution of Life Category


To truly understand how the body works and improve human health, researchers need to tease apart the building blocks of our cells. But as scientists continue to make major breakthroughs in cellular biology, an important question lingers: How did cells originally form billions of years ago?

Uncovering how the first biological molecules (like proteins and DNA) arose is a major goal for researchers attempting to solve the origin of life.

Mixing RNA and DNA To Study How Life Began

For decades, chemists have tested theories for how life began on Earth. One hypothesis has caught the scientific imagination for years: RNA World.

A famous experiment in 1953 showed that amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, could have formed spontaneously under the atmospheric conditions of early Earth.

When Earth was a lifeless planet about 4 billion years ago, chemical components came together in tiny molecular chains that would later evolve into proteins, crucial life building blocks. A new study has shown how fortuitously some early predecessors of protein may have fallen into line.

The emergence of oxygenic photosynthesis created a new niche with dramatic potential to transform energy flow through Earth's biosphere.

Tiny gas-filled bubbles in the porous rock found around hot springs are thought to have played an important role in the origin of life.

Structures inside rare bacteria are similar to those that power photosynthesis in plants today, suggesting the process is older than assumed.

Though it remains unknown how life began, there is a community of scientists who suspect it occurred in or around deep sea hydrothermal environments.

Inspired by the processes of cellular differentiation observed in developmental biology, an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Bristol have demonstrated a new spontaneous approach to building communities of cell-like entities (protocells) using chemical gradients.