Physics of Biology

   

Origins and Basis of Life

Authors: George Rajna

In 1952, chemists Stanley Miller and Harold Urey conducted a famous experimental simulation of the conditions thought to prevail on early Earth in order to determine possible pathways to the creation of life. [23] A Harvard researcher seeking a model for the earliest cells has created a system that self-assembles from a chemical soup into cell-like structures that grow, move in response to light, replicate when destroyed, and exhibit signs of rudimentary evolutionary selection. [22] New research led by Harvard Medical School reveals a critical step in a molecular chain of events that allows cells to mend broken DNA. [21] Now, Barton's lab has shown that this wire-like property of DNA is also involved in a different critical cellular function: replicating DNA. [20] Researchers have introduced a new type of "super-resolution" microscopy and used it to discover the precise walking mechanism behind tiny structures made of DNA that could find biomedical and industrial applications. [19] Genes tell cells what to do—for example, when to repair DNA mistakes or when to die—and can be turned on or off like a light switch. Knowing which genes are switched on, or expressed, is important for the treatment and monitoring of disease. Now, for the first time, Caltech scientists have developed a simple way to visualize gene expression in cells deep inside the body using a common imaging technology. [18] Researchers at The University of Manchester have discovered that a potential new drug reduces the number of brain cells destroyed by stroke and then helps to repair the damage. [17]

Comments: 41 Pages.

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[v1] 2017-04-22 12:08:37

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