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origins of life
Cosmic Rays May Explain Life’s Bias for Right-Handed DNA
Cosmic rays may have given right-handed genetic helixes an evolutionary edge at the beginning of life’s history.
Inside Deep Undersea Rocks, Life Thrives Without the Sun
Newly discovered worlds of microbes far beneath the ocean floor, inside old basaltic rocks, could point to a greater likelihood of life elsewhere in the universe.
Origin-of-Life Study Points to Chemical Chimeras, Not RNA
Origin-of-life researchers have usually studied the potential of pure starting materials, but messy mixtures of chemicals may kick-start life more effectively.
World’s Oldest Fossils Now Appear to Be Squished Rocks
Evidence for life in 3.7-billion-year-old rocks appears to be crumbling away.
Why Earth’s Cracked Crust May Be Essential for Life
Life needs more than water alone. Recent discoveries suggest that plate tectonics has played a critical role in nourishing life on Earth. The findings carry major consequences for the search for life elsewhere in the universe.
Fossil Discoveries Challenge Ideas About Earth’s Start
A series of fossil finds suggests that life on Earth started earlier than anyone thought, calling into question a widely held theory of the solar system’s beginnings.
Is a Bigger Genetic Code Better? Get Ready to Find Out
Evolution settled on a genetic code that uses four letters to name 20 amino acids. Synthetic biologists adding new bases to DNA will be free to improve on nature — if they can.
The End of the RNA World Is Near, Biochemists Argue
For decades, an origin-of-life story starring RNA has prevailed. New research may be shaking that theory’s hold on our understanding of life’s beginnings.