One of the greatest breakthroughs in twentieth century biology was the finding that RNA can serve as a catalyst and drive some of life’s essential chemical reactions.
I have been fascinated with living things since childhood. Growing up in northern California, I spent a lot of time playing outdoors among plants and animals.
Could Mars support life? In this episode of The Countdown, we run through five intriguing lines of evidence that the red planet was not always as desolate as it appears, and may even be habitable today.
Clumps of proteins twisted into aberrant shapes cause the prion diseases that have perplexed biologists for decades. The surprises just keep coming with a new report that the simple clusters of proteins responsible for Mad Cow and other prions diseases may, without help from DNA or RNA, be capable of changing form to escape the [...]
This week a major geochemistry conference heard an argument for life on Earth having originated on Mars, but does this hold up to scrutiny?
I spent some of last week at a fascinating and lively symposium on the origins of life and the search for life in the universe, held at the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.
All living cells contain DNA; the code for producing every protein needed by the cell. As DNA is important it needs to be kept safe. Plants and animals keep their DNA tightly twisted and organised inside a double-membrane bound nucleus while bacteria keep their DNA coiled up in a big circle, with the occasional loop [...]