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Life’s Amino Acid Kit Appears Pre-ordained

Of the thousands of possible amino acids, only a handful work for life. This poses a huge problem for secular origin-of-life theories.

Finding More Gifts in the Cellular Stocking

Improving techniques are allowing biochemists to find surprising new things in cells. Here are some recent examples.

Magic Ribosome Appears as Missing Link

A father-daughter team takes on the "selfish gene" concept and considers the ribosome as the "missing link" for lucky LUCA.

Cell Biologists Use Machine Language

This is a golden age of discovery about molecular machines, but the metaphor may be moving from machinery to information processing.

Cell's Molecular Machines Arouse Fascination

With increasing image quality at their disposal, biologists are finding amazing molecular machines at work in living cells.

Cells Optimize Their Tasks

The key to design in manufacturing is optimization – hitting the “sweet spot” between competing interests. It’s not always possible to have all the elements of a product be ideal. A laptop computer, for instance, can’t have an extra-large monitor and simultaneously have long battery life and compact design. A muscle car cannot be expected to have the best gas mileage. In the heyday of “faster, better, cheaper” spacecraft, engineers often joked, “pick any two.” In the same way, living cells have to optimize their operations. A couple of recent papers explore how they find that sweet spot.

Cell Operations Amaze, Inspire

A student's view of a cell under a light microscope is misleading.  It reveals only a tiny fraction of what is really going on.  Within that package of life, invisible to the student's gaze, complex machines work together in cellular factories.  Signals pass back and forth in complex networks.  Libraries of code are transcribed and […]
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