Adding a small molecule, dubbed a "molecular midwife," researchers increased the rate of DNA formation in a chemical reaction 1,000 fold over a similar reaction lacking a midwife. The discovery is an important step in the effort to trace the evolution of life back to the earliest self-replicating molecules. The results are reported in the April 2 edition of the German chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie.
"We are working to uncover how molecules similar to RNA and DNA first appeared on Earth around 4 billion years ago. Our theory is that small, simple molecules acted as templates for the production of the first RNA-like molecules. Many of these small molecules, or molecular midwives, would have worked together to produce RNA by spontaneously mixing and assembling with the chemical building blocks of RNA," said Nicholas Hud, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
In contemporary life, RNA is present in all cells and is responsible for transmitting genetic information from DNA to proteins. Many scientists believe that RNA, or something similar to RNA, was the first molecule on Earth to self-replicate and begin the process of evolution that led to more advanced forms of life such as human beings.
David Terraso | EurekAlert!
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Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
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Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
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