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:12/6/2016)... Dec. 6, 2016 Valencell , the leading ... has seen a third consecutive year of triple digit ... in 2016 with a 360 percent increase in companies ... increase was driven by sales of its wrist and ... in its technology for hearables for fitness and healthcare ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... India , December 1, 2016 ... Authentication type (Fingerprint, Voice), Future Technology (Iris Recognition ... and Region - Global Forecast to 2021", published ... USD 442.7 Million in 2016, and is projected ... at a CAGR of 14.06%.      ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... Nov. 30, 2016  higi SH llc (higi) ... initiative targeting national brands, industry thought-leaders and celebrity ... respective audiences for taking steps to live healthier, ... in 2012, higi has built the largest self-screening ... 38 million people who have conducted over 185 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... 8, 2016  The Board of Directors of the ... Western Pennsylvania,s only pure life sciences investment ... with the succession plan developed by the Nominating and ... James (Jim) F. Jordan is selected to ... John W. Manzetti , who is elected to the ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... PA (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... engagement platforms, the business of innovation is taking over sports. On Thursday, December ... will explore how technology is disrupting the playing field at a Smart Talk ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Eurofins announces the appointment of Sean Murray , National Division ... Mr. Murray will bring valuable expertise to the ... leading international business teams. As the National Division Leader, he will ... status as the global leader in bio-analytical testing services. ... , , ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Oxford Gene Technology (OGT), ... panel range with the launch of the SureSeq myPanel™ NGS ... variants in familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). The panel delivers single nucleotide ... single small panel and allows customisation by ,mix and match, ... for LDLR , P C SK9 ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: