Scientists explain the origin of the life on Earth

May 16, 2018 - By Clifton Ray

Scientists explain the origin of the life on Earth

Scientists explain the origin of the life on Earth

The new study says that the first life that has appeared on Earth was just a replica of itself. The team from Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology has made a demo version of RNA that explains how life on our planet could replicate itself.

Back to the theory: well-known scientific theory says that the first life on the planet was founded in RNA strands, which are similar to DNA, and carry all the genetic information on it, but it can be much more. RNA could have three-dimensional shapes of strands and form enzymes or ribozymes, carrying our chemical reactions.

Ribozyme can replicate itself in the same way it replicates RNA that already was folded. It is enough to support small simple living organism.

Scientists have already created ribozymes that replicated RNA strands, but not the folded RNA, as it blocked the work.

A new study was published in the eLife magazine. Scientists have finally solved the paradox and created ribozyme that is able to copy folded RNA strand with folded ribozymes inside.

How did it happen? Scientists involved new ribozymes with three combined bases in copying RNA. These triplets help ribozyme to copy its own strands of RNA. According to scientists, the same could happen with the first life on Earth.

The senior author of the paper Doctor Philipp Holliger says: “We found a solution to the RNA replication paradox by re-thinking how to approach the problem – we stopped trying to mimic existing biology and designed a completely new synthetic strategy. It is exciting that our RNA can now synthesize itself.  These triplets of bases seem to represent a sweet spot, where we get a nice opening up of the folded RNA structures, but accuracy is still high. Notably, although triplets are not used in present-day biology for replication, protein synthesis by the ribosome – an ancient RNA machine thought to be a relic of early RNA-based life – proceeds using a triplet code. However, this is only a first step because our ribozyme still needs a lot of help from us to do replication. We provided a pure system, so the next step is to integrate this into the more complex substrate mixtures mimicking the primordial soup – this likely was a diverse chemical environment also containing a range of simple peptides and lipids that could have interacted with the RNA.”

They made their experiment at the -7 degrees Celsius in ice to make work for ribozymes easier, and RNA enzymes more stable.

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