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RNA

RNA Peptide 520
origins of life

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.

Illustration of a doctor trying to get to a patient
molecular biology

Bacteria Sacrifice DNA Repair for Better RNA

Preserving its DNA ought to be a cell’s top priority. But bacteria slow their DNA repair to a crawl in favor of proofreading gene transcripts.

origins of life

Life’s First Molecule Was Protein, Not RNA, New Model Suggests

Which mattered first at the dawn of life: proteins or nucleic acids? Proteins may have had the edge if a theorized process let them grow long enough to become self-replicating catalysts.

Virus Hamiltonian Path
molecular biology

The Illuminating Geometry of Viruses

Mathematical insights into how RNA helps viruses pull together their protein shells could guide future studies of viral behavior and function.

Illustration: Viruses Find a New Way to Hijack Cells
viruses

Viruses Find a New Way to Hijack Cells

A virus that causes crippling birth defects has been shown to do something else: It changes thousands of messages coming from DNA that control normal cellular activities.

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

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.

An image of dendritic cells.
Biology

RNA’s Secret Life Outside the Cell

Circulating RNAs carry messages for plants and invertebrates. Do they do the same for us?