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Origin & Evolution of Life: November 2010


24th ILASOL Meeting

5 December 2010
Rehovot, Israel

The Israel Society for Astrobiology and the Study of the Origin of Life (ILASOL) holds an annual meeting that will take place, this year, during the Hannuka holiday at the Botnar Auditorium in the Weizmann Institute of Science. For information and abstract submission, please contact ilasolw@weizmann.ac.il. [Source: NAI]

Researchers that include members of NAI's Arizona State University Team and NASA's Exobiology program are using the isotopic composition and concentration of molybdenum in sedimentary rocks to explore how the evolution of Earth's biota is intimately linked to the oxygenation of the oceans and atmosphere. Their results, published in PNAS, indicate two episodes of global ocean oxygenation. The first coincides with the emergence of the Ediacaran fauna ~550 million years ago, including large, motile bilaterian animals. The second, perhaps larger, oxygenation took place ~400 million years ago, well after the initial rise of animals, therefore suggesting that early metazoans evolved in a relatively low oxygen environment. [Source: NAI]

A three-day workshop using NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) remote communications tools, on "Molecular Paleontology and Resurrection: Rewinding the Tape of Life," will be held on 8, 9 & 10 November 2010. Real-time participation requires only an internet connection and is available to interested scientists from around the world. Participants will discuss "top down" origin of life research, which will ultimately allow us to rewind the evolutionary record of biochemical processes and assemblies.

Organized by John Peters and Loren Williams, PIs of the NAI's Montana State University and Georgia Tech teams, a primary goal of the workshop is to foster new interdisciplinary collaborations across the community.

Session topics will include

* Phylogenetic Studies on Key Enzymes Involved in Information Pathways and Metabolism
* The Evolutionary History of Protein Synthesis
* Minerals to Enzymes, Bridging the Gap Between Metal-Based Abiotic and Biological Chemistry
* Phylogenetic Reconstruction/Resurrection, A Glimpse into Extinct Biochemistry
* What Can Modern Biological Energy Transformation Systems Tell Us About Conditions on the Early Earth?
* Linking the Evolutionary Record to the Geological Record

The workshop is open to the worldwide science community and is accessible via internet browser. To receive information on how to connect to the workshop, register on the NAI website: http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/nai/ool-www/ . [Source: NAI]

The NAI scientists who put an innovative "tree of life" online last year now have made that same resource available -- for free -- for iPhone users. The new "TimeTree" application lets anyone with an Apple iPhone harness a vast Internet storehouse of data about the diversity of life, from bacteria to humans. The intuitive interface is designed to answer a simple question, quickly and authoritatively: how long ago did species A and species B share a common ancestor? For more information: http://live.psu.edu/story/48526#nw63 [Source: NAI]