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It's (not) life, Jim ... but not as we know it Answered

From this week's Science magazine online abstracts:

Self-Sustained Replication of an RNA Enzyme
Tracey A. Lincoln and Gerald F. Joyce

An RNA enzyme that catalyzes the RNA-templated joining of RNA was converted to a format whereby two enzymes catalyze each other’s synthesis from a total of four oligonucleotide substrates. These cross-replicating RNA enzymes undergo self-sustained exponential amplification in the absence of proteins or other biological materials. Amplification occurs with a doubling time of about one hour, and can be continued indefinitely. Populations of various cross-replicating enzymes were constructed and allowed to compete for a common pool of substrates, during which recombinant replicators arose and grew to dominate the population. These replicating RNA enzymes can serve as an experimental model of a genetic system. Many such model systems could be constructed, allowing different selective outcomes to be related to the underlying properties of the genetic system.

Discussions

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Kiteman
Kiteman

12 years ago

One more step to the DIY cell kit!

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gmjhowe
gmjhowe

Reply 12 years ago

I will take two!

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Labot2001
Labot2001

Reply 12 years ago

Is one of them for your Mac?

>snicker<

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gmjhowe
gmjhowe

Reply 12 years ago

'>snicker<' .... who does that on the internet nowadays, i mean really..

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Labot2001
Labot2001

Reply 12 years ago

You mean other than Kiteman?

>snicker<

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gmjhowe
gmjhowe

Reply 12 years ago

.. FAIL

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Goodhart
Goodhart

Reply 12 years ago

two cells, or two kits ;-)

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gmjhowe
gmjhowe

Reply 12 years ago

well, 3 total brain cells would be good..

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Goodhart
Goodhart

12 years ago

This isn't all that surprising. I have seen other chemical exhibit similar behavior, as it were.

For instance, Cairns-Smith has shown that, adjunct to the carbon-based self-replicating crystals of DNA & RNA, there are also much simpler silicon based crystals that are also self-replicating.

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kelseymh
kelseymh

Reply 12 years ago

When you describe crystals as "self-replicating", I assume you mean something more subtle than just normal crystal growth? In particular, one isolated item induces the growth of a second, separate and isolated item? The article above isn't dealing with RNA "crystals" (the kind of thing you have to make for X-ray diffraction studies). Instead, they designed a pair of ribozymes -- RNA nucleotide chains which exhibit protein-like catalytic behavior -- each of which would catalyze the synthesis of the other from a solution of individual nucleotide.

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Goodhart
Goodhart

Reply 12 years ago

Understood, I certainly did not mean to sound condescending in any way.

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kelseymh
kelseymh

Reply 12 years ago

Sorry, I wasn't trying to be condescending or rhetorical, either. I'm not familiar with Cairns-Smith's work. If you were talking about a non-trivial form of replication (i.e., not just crystal growth), that would be really cool, and I'm interested in learning more.

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Goodhart
Goodhart

Reply 12 years ago

I am SO sorry....I really DO have to get into my library more often to review things I have read in the past.

Again, I was confusing things, this time books: I have a book by Vladimir S. Boyko (and etc.) called Reversible Crystal Plasticity.
I also have a two volume tome called Peptide Growth Factors and Their Receptors I - II

To find what I am looking for may require me a little more time then I anticipated. :-) But I do want to see if I am correct, or need correction on the matter.

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Goodhart
Goodhart

Reply 12 years ago

Although I was referencing Cairns-Smith I believe I was confusing this with something I had read on irreversible crystalline plasticity. I will have to look it up when I get home from work, as I can't even find reference to the two volume tome online.

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KentsOkay
KentsOkay

12 years ago

Woot!! One shuffle closer to improving my genetics for super human speed and strength...