Origins of Life?

Science today seems to be getting closer and closer to figuring out this life thing. I am definitely not a advanced Biology scientist, but the article below seems to me to point to the beginnings of us humans being able to either create life, or at the least, figure out if life is a common happening in our Universe. I’m not sure if I should be scared or happy.

“Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, have determined the three-dimensional structure of an RNA enzyme, or “ribozyme,” that carries out a fundamental reaction required to make new RNA molecules. Their results provide insight into what may have been the first self-replicating molecule to arise billions of years ago on the evolutionary path toward the emergence of life.

In all forms of life known today, the synthesis of DNA and RNA molecules is carried out by enzymes made of proteins. The instructions for making those proteins are contained in genes made of DNA or RNA (nucleic acids).

“Which came first, nucleic acids or proteins? This question once seemed an intractable paradox, but with the discovery of ribozymes, it is now possible to imagine a prebiotic ‘RNA World’ in which self-replicating ribozymes accomplished both tasks,” said William Scott, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UC Santa Cruz.” See full article at: Red Orbit

You may know that back in the early 50’s Stanley Miller and Harold Urey conducted an experiment at the University of Chicago wherein they took methane, ammonia, hydrogen, and water and ran an electric currant (to simulate lightening) thru the mixture and found they could make organic compounds such as amino acids. No, this wasn’t life, but the experiment showed that compounds essential to cellular life could easily be made under the conditions that were believed (at the time) to be present on the earth in early times

On September 28, 1969; a meteorite fell over Murchison, Australia. 100 kilograms were recovered. Analysis of the meteorite has shown that it is rich with amino acids. 90 some amino acids have been identified by researchers to date. Nineteen of these amino acids are found on Earth.

These findings, and others, are leading us on an amazing journey of discovery. The next hundred years, I predict, will be a great time to be alive (if we survive religious terrorism). I am jealous of those who will be present for them.

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