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It’s a small (RNA) world after all

The central dogma of molecular biology edit: the sequence hypothesis (thanks for setting me straight, Kamel!) as formulated 57 years ago was simple: DNA is transcribed to mRNA,and  mRNA is translated to proteins. Proteins are the business end of this process. mRNA is only the messenger: its sole function is to deliver information from the […]

Finally: a Nobel prize for the ribosome structure

This has been a topic of discussion since I was in grad school: when will the Nobel prize for the structure of the ribosome be finally awarded? Well, it finally has. Ada Yonath, Thomas Steitz and Venkatraman Ramakrishnan received the Nobel for work that has spanned three decades and an equal number of continents.   […]

Ribosomal paleontology

In the latter epoch of those  2 billion-odd years between non-life and life on early Earth, our ancestral molecular replicators were quite probably RNA, not DNA. There are many arguments for this RNA world hypothesis: RNA can store information in its sequence, and self -duplicate; it can also catalyze reactions as a ribozyme. So technically, […]