RNA and Protein: A Match Made in the Hadean
Williams, Loren D.
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Biological systems record historical information, as seen in the growth rings of trees. On a molecular level, records are detailed and extensive, connecting us to the pre-history of biology (the origin of life). The most ancient macromolecules in biology are found in the ribosome, which is the RNA-protein complex responsible for the synthesis of all coded protein in living organisms. The catalytic core of the ribosome a deeply-frozen molecular fossil that is older than modern biology. The origins and early development of the ribosome, billions of years ago, remain firmly imprinted in the biochemistry of extant life. The ribosome tells us part of the story of the origin of life. The information contained within the ribosome guides our laboratory in experimentally recapitulating critical chemical and biochemical steps in the origin and early evolution of life.