Credit: © zhu difeng / Fotolia
By Science Daily
Mimicking natural evolution in a test tube, scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have devised an enzyme with a unique property that might have been crucial to the origin of life on Earth.
Aside from illuminating one possible path for life’s beginnings, the achievement is likely to yield a powerful tool for evolving new and useful molecules.
“When I start to tell people about this, they sometimes wonder if we’re merely suggesting the possibility of such an enzyme — but no, we actually made it,” said Gerald F. Joyce, professor in TSRI’s Departments of Chemistry and Cell and Molecular Biology and director of the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation.
Joyce was the senior author of the new report, which was published online ahead of print by the journalNature on October 29, 2014.
The Challenge of Making Copies
The new enzyme is called a ribozyme because it is made from ribonucleic acid (RNA). Modern DNA-based life forms appear to have evolved from a simpler “RNA world,” and many scientists suspect that RNA molecules with enzymatic properties were Earth’s first self-replicators.
Read the full article by clicking the name of the source located below.