What's up in

origins of life

origins of life

How to Build Life in a Pre-Darwinian World

February 16, 2016

Perhaps chemistry played a more instrumental role in the origin of life than scientists thought.

astrobiology

Scientists Debate Signatures of Alien Life

February 2, 2016

Searching for signs of life on faraway planets, astrobiologists must decide which telltale biosignature gases to target.

Q&A

The Information Theory of Life

November 19, 2015

The polymath Christoph Adami is investigating life’s origins by reimagining life as self-perpetuating information strings.

geophysics

How Life and Luck Changed Earth’s Minerals

August 11, 2015

Did the minerals on our planet arise in a predictable fashion, or did they result from chance events? The answers could eventually help scientists identify planets likely to harbor life.

Biology

New Letters Added to the Genetic Alphabet

July 10, 2015

Scientists hope that new genetic letters, created in the lab, will endow DNA with new powers.

origins of life

How Structure Arose in the Primordial Soup

April 16, 2015

Life’s first epoch saw incredible advances — cells, metabolism and DNA, to name a few. Researchers are resurrecting ancient proteins to illuminate the biological dark ages.

Biology

New Twist Found in the Story of Life’s Start

November 26, 2014

All life on Earth is made of molecules that twist in the same direction. New research reveals that this may not always have been so.

origins of life

Hints of Life’s Start Found in a Giant Virus

July 10, 2014

Newly discovered specimens support a more ancient origin for viruses, perhaps all the way back to the origins of life.

origins of life

Early Life in Death Valley

April 24, 2014

Evidence from Southwestern deserts suggests that oxygen-breathing organisms arose on land rather than in the seas.