Results tagged “Biochemistry”

The enzyme-nitrogenase-can be traced back to the universal common ancestor of all cells more than four billion years ago.

When Earth was a lifeless planet about 4 billion years ago, chemical components came together in tiny molecular chains that would later evolve into proteins, crucial life building blocks. A new study has shown how fortuitously some early predecessors of protein may have fallen into line.

Earth didn't always harbor life. But around 4 billion years ago, something in the environment changed, and systems with biological properties began to emerge.

Before life began on Earth, the environment likely contained a massive number of chemicals that reacted with each other more or less randomly, and it is unclear how things as complex as cells could have emerged from such chemical chaos.

One element is the backbone of all forms of life we've ever discovered on Earth: carbon.

A recent study explores the potential for diamidophosphate (DAP) to form naturally on the early Earth.

New research has identified manganese as an unsung hero in the evolution of life on Earth, as it enabled a form of pre-oxygen photosynthesis and helped protect against cellular oxidation.

A new study provides deeper insight into the chemical and isotopic signatures in Earth's geological record by resurrecting ancient enzymes to better understand the processes by which they were formed.

Discovering new biological targets is a critical part of our ongoing battle against diseases. Over the years, scientists have made impressive progress towards the understanding of biological systems, constantly identifying novel targets.

A key challenge in origin-of-life studies is understanding the environmental conditions on early Earth under which abiogenesis occurred.

Chemists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have found a compound that may have been a crucial factor in the origins of life on Earth.

A novel investigation of how enzymatic reactions can direct the motion and organization of microcapsules may point toward a new theory of how protocells - the earliest biological cells - could have organized into colonies and thus, could have ultimately formed larger, differentiated structures.

Oldest Known Redox Gradient Discovered

By analyzing iron isotopes against the uranium content in the jasper rock from the ancient ocean of the Barberton Greenstone Belt in South Africa, scientists have found a defined vertical redox gradient, called a redoxcline, showing a change in the level of oxygenation from the deeper part of the ocean leading to the shallower portion.

Studying Metabolism in Mixed Cultures

Studying Carbon-13 (13C) metabolism in a microbial community can be a time-consuming and tricky prospect. This is because scientists often have to separate a single species out of the mix for study.

In 2009, scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution embarked on a NASA-funded mission to the Mid-Cayman Rise in the Caribbean, in search of a type of deep-sea hot-spring or hydrothermal vent that they believed held clues to the search for life on other planets.

Making Unnatural Amino Acids

Chemists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have devised a greatly improved technique for making amino acids not found in nature.

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