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origins of life

Abstractions blog

A New Step in Re-Creating First Life on Earth

August 25, 2016

An RNA molecule that can make copies of a variety of RNAs adds new support to the RNA-world theory.

Abstractions blog

Faster Evolution on a Warmer Earth

July 12, 2016

When life first emerged roughly 4 billion years ago, DNA may have been a much more malleable molecule.

Abstractions blog

Interstellar Find Adds Life to Old Debate

June 20, 2016

Figuring out how these molecules form in the deep recesses of interstellar space might illuminate the origins of one of life’s distinguishing features.

Q&A

In Warm, Greasy Puddles, the Spark of Life?

March 17, 2016

The biologist David Deamer proposes that life evolved from a collection of interacting molecules, probably in a pool in the shadow of a volcano.

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.