Researchers synthesized the basic ingredients of RNA, a molecule from which the simplest self-replicating structures are made. Until now, they couldn't explain how these ingredients might have formed.
"It's like molecular choreography, where the molecules choreograph their own behavior," said organic chemist John Sutherland of the University of Manchester, co-author of a study in Nature Wednesday.
RNA is now found in living cells, where it carries information between genes and protein-manufacturing cellular components. Scientists think RNA existed early in Earth's history, providing a necessary intermediate platform between pre-biotic chemicals and DNA, its double-stranded, more-stable descendant.
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