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:4/13/2016)... physicians supporting Medicaid patients in Central Florida ... telehealth thanks to a new partnership with higi.   ... can routinely track key health measurements, such as blood ... they opt in, share them with IMPOWER clinicians through ... location at no cost. By leveraging this data, IMPOWER ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... , March 31, 2016  Genomics firm Nabsys ... founding CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., who returned ... of the original technical leadership team, including Chief Technology ... of Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President of ... to the company. Dr. Bready served as ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... , March 23, 2016 ... erhöhter Sicherheit Gesichts- und Stimmerkennung mit Passwörtern ... (NASDAQ: MESG ), ein führender ... das Unternehmen mit SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um erstmals ... Finanzdienstleistungsbranche, wird die Möglichkeit angeboten, im Rahmen ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT ... Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics ... development and commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class ... Epigenetic targets such as WDR5 represent an exciting ... significantly in precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... YORK , June, 23, 2016  The Biodesign ... to envision new ways to harness living systems and ... Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City ... than 130 participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste ... Paola Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of architecture ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ... clinical trials of its complement C3 inhibitor, APL-2. ... multiple ascending dose studies designed to assess the ... subcutaneous injection in healthy adult volunteers. ... as a single dose (ranging from 45 to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... on quality, regulatory and technical consulting, provides a free webinar on ... on July 13, 2016 at 12pm CT at no charge. , Incomplete investigations ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: