HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Whitehead Study Supports Existence Of Ancient RNA World, Helps Provide Insight Into Early Evolution Of Life

For decades, many researchers thought that ribonucleic acid, or RNA, was nothing more than a molecular interpreter that helps translate DNA codes into proteins. But research over the past 15 years, including studies at the Whitehead Institute, has been lending credence to the notion of a so-called "RNA world," an era in early evolution when all life forms were based on RNA.

This view faced a difficulty, however. For RNA-based life to survive, it must have acquired the ability to synthesize its own building blocks, and until now, scientists had not found an RNA molecule with this key characteristic.

In this week's issue of Nature, Drs. David Bartel and Peter Unrau of the Whitehead Institute report that they have found an RNA molecule capable of making a nucleotide building block, providing some of the strongest evidence yet to support the RNA world view. In contemporary metabolism, protein enzymes catalyze this nucleotide-synthesis reaction, which involves the addition of a nucleotide base to a sugar phosphate. For the RNA world scenario to be feasible, scientists had to show that RNA molecules could catalyze this reaction without the help of protein enzymes.

The Bartel lab finding provides this evidence and supports the theory that in early evolution, RNA molecules carried out functions now considered to be the domains of DNA and proteins: like DNA in modern biology, RNA stored the genetic information to reproduce, and like protein, RNA synthesized the molecules needed to reproduce.

These and other findings will ultimately help evolutionary biologists address questions about how life began on earth more than three billion years ago.

Theories about the origins of life have long intrigued scientists and lay people alike. "A fundamental question about the origin of life is what class of molecules gave rise to some of the earliest life forms" says Dr. Bartel.

For years, scientis
'"/>

Contact: Seema Kumar
kumar@wi.mit.edu
(617) 258-6153
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
16-Sep-1998


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Whitehead press seminar 2001: new horizons in the post-genome world
2. Whitehead Institute receives National Science Foundation grant to sequence Neurospora
3. Whitehead press seminar: Beyond the scientific frontier
4. Millennium and the Whitehead Institute identify novel protein important in fat absorption
5. Whitehead Receives $35 Million Grant From National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
6. Whitehead Receives $7 million NIH Grant To Build High-Speed Sequencing Machines
7. Whitehead Study Establishes Role Of DNA Methylation In The Stability Of DNA, Suggests Possible Role Of Undermethylation In Cancer
8. Study: Emission of smog ingredients from trees is increasing rapidly
9. Study explores gene transfer to modify underlying course of Alzheimers disease
10. Study reveals why eyes in some paintings seem to follow viewers
11. Study by Israeli scientists provides insight on DNA code

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:5/16/2017)... TEANECK, N.J. , May 16, 2017  Veratad ... leading provider of online age and identity verification solutions, ... the K(NO)W Identity Conference 2017, May 15 thru May ... Ronald Regan Building and International Trade Center. ... across the globe and in today,s quickly evolving digital ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... , May 5, 2017 RAM ... announced a new breakthrough in biometric authentication based ... quantum mechanical properties to perform biometric authentication. These new ... semiconductor material created by Ram Group and its ... entertainment, transportation, supply chains and security. Ram Group ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... 2017 The global military biometrics ... marked by the presence of several large global players. ... five major players - 3M Cogent, NEC Corporation, M2SYS ... nearly 61% of the global military biometric market in ... global military biometrics market boast global presence, which has ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 11, 2017 , ... A new study published in Fertility ... fresh in vitro fertilization (IVF) transfer cycles. The multi-center matched cohort ... After comparing the results from the fresh and frozen transfer cohorts, the authors ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... company advancing targeted antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, today confirmed licensing rights that ... Polymerized Liposomal Nanoparticle), a technology developed in collaboration with Children’s Hospital Los ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... 10, 2017 International research firm Parks Associates announced ... at the TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , October 11 in ... residential home security market and how smart safety and security products impact ... Parks Associates: Smart Home ... "The residential security market has ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... PA (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... year’s recipients of 13 prestigious awards honoring scientists who have ... presented in a scheduled symposium during Pittcon 2018, the world’s leading conference and ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: