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origins of life

Biology

New Letters Added to the Genetic Alphabet

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

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

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

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

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

origins of life

Chemists Seek Possible Precursor to RNA

Scientists have discovered building blocks similar to those in modern RNA that can effortlessly assemble when mixed in water and heated.

Jeremy England
Physics

A New Physics Theory of Life

An MIT physicist has proposed the provocative idea that life exists because the law of increasing entropy drives matter to acquire lifelike physical properties.

genetics

Tiny Genomes and the Origin of Complex Cells

Symbiotic bacteria that dwell within insect cells are intricately intertwined with their hosts, prompting scientists to question when these bacteria stop being bona fide organisms and become part of the cell.