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November 30 2013

Synthetic primordial cell copies RNA for the first time


We are a step closer to understanding how life began, and we can thank the humble lemon.

For the first time, genetic information has been copied inside a simple cell designed to mimic primordial life. Until now, such copying had the unfortunate side effect of destroying the cell, but researchers have found that the cell can be stabilised by adding a dash of citrate. The substance is synthesised from citric acid, a chemical found in lemons and oranges.

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