Sidebar: RNA's Role at Beginning of Life - For Further InformationBefore there was life, there were chemicals. The idea that ribonucleic acid (RNA), because of its catalytic capability and multiple roles in protein synthesis, was the chemical that led directly to life is termed the RNA world hypothesis. Although the phrase "RNA world" is generally attributed to Walter Gilbert, Harvard University's Carl M. Loeb University Professor, in a short 1986 paper, the idea of RNA's importance at the beginning of life was discussed two decades earlier.
MINING FOR RNA: James Ferris's group at Rensselaer re-creates how nucleotides might have joined on ancient mineral surfaces.
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