Monday, November 13, 2017

‘Missing Link’ to the First Life on Earth Found?

Chemical Life

     The search for the ancient chemical origins of life has a new candidate — a multitasking enzyme that may have set the evolutionary ball rolling.
By Dave Roos
Seeker
11-9-17

Four billion years ago, Earth was covered in a watery sludge swarming with primordial molecules, gases, and minerals — nothing that biologists would recognize as alive. Then somehow, out of that prebiotic stew emerged the first critical building blocks — proteins, sugars, amino acids, cell walls — that would combine over the next billion years to form the first specks of life on the planet.

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A team of such chemists from the Scripps Research Institute reported Nov. 6 in the journal Nature Chemistry that they identified a single, primitive enzyme that could have reacted with early Earth catalysts to produce some of the key precursors to life ....

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