Ancient Proteins Offer New Clues About Origin of Life on Earth; Foldability a Key

By simulating early Earth conditions in the lab, researchers have found that without specific amino acids, ancient proteins would not have known how to evolve into everything alive on the planet today—including plants, animals, and humans. The findings, which detail how amino acids shaped the genetic code of ancient microorganisms, shed light on the mystery of how life began on Earth. “You see the same amino acids in every organism, from humans to bacteria to archaea, and that’s because all things on Earth are connected through this tree of life that has an origin, an organism that was the ancestor to all living things,” said Stephen Fried, PhD, a Johns Hopkins chemist who co-led the research with scientists at Charles University in the Czech Republic. “We’re describing the events that shaped why that ancestor got the amino acids that it did.” The findings are newly published February 24, 2023 in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. The article is titled “Early Selection of the Amino Acid Alphabet Was Adaptively Shaped by Biophysical Constraints of Foldability.”
Login Or Register To Read Full Story