Montreal scientists unlock mystery of early molecular mechanism | Sympatico / MSN Tech & Gadgets
Montreal scientists unlock mystery of early molecular mechanism
Two Montreal researchers have proposed a new theory for a question that has long vexed evolutionary biologists: How did a mechanism thought to help build life self-assemble?
Sergey Steinberg, a biochemistry professor at the University of Montreal, found the answer in the ribosome, a relatively large mechanism within the cell that takes RNA instruction and builds proteins.
His discovery, made with student Konstantin Bokov, has been published in the scientific journal Nature.
Scientists have long wondered how chemicals spontaneously came together to create proteins before life itself began.
Steinberg and Bokov's theory fills in a critical step in how life got started four billion years ago, said Stephen Michnick, the Canada Research Chair in Integrative Genomics at the University of Montreal.
A key breakthrough came when Steinberg found that chemicals could spontaneously come together and form something as complex as a ribosome. Previous theories had suggested only simple proteins could form spontaneously.