Self-replicating molecules show signs of metabolism + 100-mil-yr old microbes revived

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Ancient microbes spring to life after 100 million years under the seafloor
https://gizmodo.com/ancient-microbes-spr...1844529743

Scientists have revived microbes found deep beneath the seafloor in 100-million-year-old sediment, dramatically expanding our view of where life exists on Earth and for how long...



Self-replicating molecules show signs of metabolism for the first time
https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/self...52.article

INTRO: In a chance discovery, researchers have for the first time observed the emergence of something akin to metabolism in molecules that also self-replicate. The replicator molecules catalyse a reaction that produces compounds that help to make the replicator’s own building blocks. It might be one of the most lifelike chemical systems ever created, combining two of life’s three essential features – replication, metabolism and compartmentalisation.

‘What it can teach us is that those functions that we see in living systems, they are not unique to life as we know it,’ says origin of life scientist Kamila Muchowska from the University of Strasbourg, France, who wasn’t involved in the work.

Although self-replication is usually associated with DNA, the behaviour has been seen in very different looking chemical systems – for example in rotaxanes. This raises the intriguing possibility of creating completely synthetic lifeforms that tick all three boxes for life: replication, the use and storage of energy to perform energetically unfavourable, or endergonic, reactions, and keeping all of these functions contained to protect them from parasitic lifeforms.

Systems that either replicate or perform metabolism-like reactions have existed before, and some can even switch from one function to the other upon addition of chemicals or environmental changes. But a team around Sijbren Otto from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands has now created molecules that do both at the same time... (MORE)



Wrong number of fingers leads down wrong track
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/...072420.php

INTRO: Have you ever wondered why our hands have five fingers? And what about amphibians? They usually only have four. Until now it was assumed that this was already the case with the early ancestors of today's frogs and salamanders, the Temnospondyli. However, a new find of the crocodile-like Temnospondyl Metoposaurus krasiejowensis from the late Triassic (about 225 million years old) in Poland shows five metacarpal bones and thus five fingers. As the researchers from the Universities of Bonn and Opole (Poland) note, this finding is very important, because until now, fossil animal tracks may have been wrongly assigned. The results have now been published in the Journal of Anatomy... (MORE)
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