Navigation Links
Weber State Scientists discover possible building blocks of ancient genetic systems
Date:11/9/2012

November 8, 2012 - Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Scientists believe that prior to the advent of DNA as the earth's primary genetic material, early forms of life used RNA to encode genetic instructions. What sort of genetic molecules did life rely on before RNA?

The answer may be AEG, a small molecule when linked into chains form a hypothetical backbone for Peptide Nucleic Acids, which have been hypothesized as the first genetic molecules. Synthetic AEG has been studied by the pharmaceutical industry as a possible genesilencer to stop or slow certain genetic diseases. The only problem with the theory is that up to now, AEG has been unknown from nature.

A team of scientists from the USA and Sweden announced that they have discovered AEG within cyanobacteria which are believed to be some of the most primitive organisms on earth. Cyanobacteria sometimes appear as mats or scums on the surface of reservoirs and lakes during hot summer months. Their tolerance for extreme habitats is remarkable, ranging from the hot springs of Yellowstone to the tundra of the Arctic.

"Our discovery of AEG in cyanobacteria was unexpected," explains Dr. Paul Alan Cox, coauthor on the paper that appeared today in the journal PLOS ONE. The American team, is based at the Institute for Ethnomedicine in Jackson Hole, and serve as adjunct faculty at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.

"While we were writing our manuscript," Cox says, "we learned that our colleagues at the Stockholm University Department of Analytical Chemistry had made a similar discovery, so we asked them to join us on the paper."

To determine how widespread AEG production is among cyanobacteria, the scientists analyzed pristine cyanobacterial cultures from the Pasteur Culture Collection of Paris, France. They also collected samples of cyanobacteria from Guam, Japan, Qatar, as well as in the Gobi desert of Mongolia, the latter sample being collected by famed Wyoming naturalist Derek Craighead. All were found to produce AEG.

Professor Leopold Ilag and his student Liying Jiang at Stockholm University's Department of Analytical Chemistry analyzed the same samples and came up with identical results: cyanobacteria produce AEG. While the analysis is certain, its significance for studies of the earliest forms of life on earth remains unclear. Does the production of AEG by cyanobacteria represent an echo of the earliest life on earth?

"We just don't have enough data yet to draw that sort of conclusion," reports Cox. "However the pharmaceutical industry has been exploring synthetic AEG polymers for potential use in gene silencing, so I suspect we have much more to learn."


'/>"/>

Contact: Paul Alan Cox
paul@ethnomedicine.org
801-375-6214
Weber State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Compound in grapes, red wine could be key to fighting prostate cancer
2. High-strength material advancements at Wayne State University may lead to new, life-saving steel
3. Iowa State, Ames Lab researchers find 3 unique cell-to-cell bonds
4. New book on physics principles by Wayne State professor explains life as we know it
5. Sam Houston state developing lab test for bath salts
6. New study confirms erroneous link between XMRV and prostate cancer-contamination was the cause
7. Wayne State receives $2.8 million grant from US Administration for Children and Families
8. Smart growth strategies curb car use, greenhouse gas emissions, SF State study suggests
9. State stem cell research funding agency awards $37.3 million to aid UC Irvine efforts
10. SF State biologists tag zombees to track their flight
11. Epigenetic causes of prostate cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/4/2016)... , Feb. 4, 2016 The ... apparently one of the most popular hubs of ... MetaHIT and other huge studies of human microbiota, ... past few years, the microbiome space has literally ... biomedical research. This report focuses on biomedical ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... -- --> --> ... Identification System Market by Component (Hardware and Software), Search ... Government, Healthcare, and Transportation) and Geography - Global Forecast ... to be worth USD 8.49 Billion by 2020 at ... The transformation and technology evolution from the manual process ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... , Feb. 3, 2016 ... addition of the "Emotion Detection and ... Learning, and Others), Software Tools (Facial Expression, ... End Users,and Regions - Global forecast to ... --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/d8zjcd/emotion_detection ) has announced ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... Boston, MA (PRWEB) , ... February 10, 2016 ... ... system is now available on Microsoft Azure. On Azure, Arvados provides capabilities for ... “We saw clear demand for Microsoft Azure from major institutions collecting and analyzing ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... Cenna Bioscience Inc., an emerging biopharmaceutical company ... disease, announced today it has been selected to present at the Cavendish Global Health ... Beach, Florida. The purpose of the Forum is to help family offices and ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... ... With a presidential election in November and the future of U.S. healthcare ... 500 top healthcare leaders for a night and day of debates and discussions about ... of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, will be held February 18 – 19, ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 08, 2016 , ... ... p.m. , Location: Baruch S. Blumberg Institute at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of ... Blumberg Institute and The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC) will hold an open house ...
Breaking Biology Technology: