News of the WeekORIGIN OF LIFE

A Sulfurous Start for Protein Synthesis?

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Science  31 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5377, pp. 627-629
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5377.627a

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On page 670, a pair of researchers provides new evidence that life arose not in Darwin's proposed warm, nourishing broth but under harsh, volcanic conditions. They report that they have re-created a crucial step in assembling the ingredients of living cells--the linking together of amino acids into short, proteinlike chains called peptides--in conditions much like those at deep-sea volcanic vents.