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IPFS News Link • Biology, Botany and Zoology

Researchers Say They've Identified The Functions of Life's Earliest Genes


A new study on how genes function across the living world has added weight to the hypothesis that life on Earth was capturing energy from chemical reactions before it was copying its codes.

The result throws fuel onto the original evolutionary 'chicken and egg' debate that asks, which came first, replicating RNA or metabolism?

Step backwards through time and generations of animals, from sponges and jellyfish, to complex single cells, and finally to simple cells, and you'll arrive at a conundrum.

If replicating genes need energy, and our metabolism is regulated by enzymes made by genes, how could we have genes without a metabolism, and a metabolism without genes?

One possible solution is that ribonucleic acid (RNA) served multiple roles as a chemical template and a physical structure that performed important jobs, such as catalysing the reactions necessary for the first primitive cells.