I have been fascinated with living things since childhood. Growing up in northern California, I spent a lot of time playing outdoors among plants and animals.
One of the greatest breakthroughs in twentieth century biology was the finding that RNA can serve as a catalyst and drive some of life’s essential chemical reactions.
What are some of the most intriguing and unexpected puzzles about the universe?
All living cells contain DNA; the code for producing every protein needed by the cell. As DNA is important it needs to be kept safe. Plants and animals keep their DNA tightly twisted and organised inside a double-membrane bound nucleus while bacteria keep their DNA coiled up in a big circle, with the occasional loop [...]
Could Mars support life? In this episode of The Countdown, we run through five intriguing lines of evidence that the red planet was not always as desolate as it appears, and may even be habitable today.
This week a major geochemistry conference heard an argument for life on Earth having originated on Mars, but does this hold up to scrutiny?
Using the CRISPR–Cas9 system, scientists can do much more than gene editing—they can boost gene transcription or use fluorescent proteins to paint and track a chromosome. In this Nature Video animation, several innovative uses for CRISPR are outlined and explained. This video was reproduced with permission and was first published on October 31, 2017. It is a Nature Video production.
A new effort to bring global cohesion to origins of life science launches, and with it a fresh look at how to crack one of the greatest existential questions.
Clumps of proteins twisted into aberrant shapes cause the prion diseases that have perplexed biologists for decades. The surprises just keep coming with a new report that the simple clusters of proteins responsible for Mad Cow and other prions diseases may, without help from DNA or RNA, be capable of changing form to escape the [...]
I spent some of last week at a fascinating and lively symposium on the origins of life and the search for life in the universe, held at the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.