Meteorites may have brought building blocks of life to Earth | McMaster Daily News

Life on Earth began somewhere between 3.7 and 4.5 billion years ago, after meteorites splashed down and leached essential elements into warm little ponds, say scientists at McMaster University and the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

Their calculations suggest that wet and dry cycles bonded basic molecular building blocks in the ponds’ nutrient-rich broth into self-replicating RNA molecules that constituted the first genetic code for life on the planet.

McMaster University

Oldest traces of life on Earth may lurk in Canadian rocks

Ancient rocks in northeastern Canada could contain chemical traces of life from more than 3.95 billion years ago, a new study suggests. If confirmed, the finding would be among the earliest known signs of life on Earth._Nature News & Comment

Motorized molecules drill through cells

Φωτοκατευθυνόμενες «μοριακές μηχανές» χρησιμοποιήθηκαν για την διάτρηση της εξωτερικής μεμβράνης σε μεμονωμένα κύτταρα, υποσχόμενες είτε την μεταφορά θεραπευτικών ουσιών μέσα σε πάσχοντα κύτταρα, είτε την άμεση καταστροφή των νεκρωμένων._Πυθεύς

«Pulling» bacteria out of blood

Empa researcher Inge Herrmann and her team are developing a solution in collaboration with modelling expert Marco Lattuada from the Adolphe Merkle Institute and doctors from the Harvard Medical School. The idea for the treatment is the magnetic purification of blood. _Empa

Protein-like structures from the primordial soup

Experiments performed by ETH scientists have shown that it is remarkably easy for protein-like, two-dimensional structures – amyloids – to form from basic building blocks. This discovery supports the researchers’ hypothesis that primal life could have evolved from amyloids such as these. _Fabio Bergamin ETH Zurich

Chemically Storing Solar Power

Scientists at TU Wien (Vienna) have now developed a new concept: By combining highly specialised new materials, they have managed to combine high temperature photovoltaics with an electrochemical cell. Ultraviolet light can be directly used to pump oxygen ions through a solid oxide electrolyte. The energy of the UV light is stored chemically. In the future, this method could also be used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.__TU Wien

Lasers Rewired

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and UC Berkeley have found a simple new way to produce nanoscale wires that can serve as tiny, tunable lasers.__LBNL

Study reveals mechanism behind enzyme that tags unneeded DNA

Researchers have discovered the two-step process that activates an essential human enzyme, called Suv39h1, which is responsible for organizing large portions of the DNA found in every living cell.
Princeton University – Research news • February 18, 2016 • By Tien Nguyen, Department of Chemistry

Breaking through the bacteria barrier

New microfluidic device may speed up DNA insertion in bacteria, the first step in genetic engineering
News release • MIT News Office • February 19, 2016 • By Jennifer Chu

Three new technologies to make energy cleaner, more efficient

Three technologies — a computational tool to improve power grid planning, a process to create biofuel from kelp and a hybrid device that makes hydrogen and stores energy — are being developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and its partners under new projects just announced by the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E._PNNL

3D-mapping a new drug-delivery tool

Scientists from EPFL and Nestlé have developed a new method that can “see” inside dispersed cubosomes (dispersed cubic liquid crystalline phases) with unprecedented detail. The breakthrough can help to improve their design significantly for better drug or nutrient delivery._EPFL

Research may solve lunar fire fountain mystery

In addition to providing a potential answer to longstanding questions surrounding lunar fire fountains, the findings also serve as more evidence that some volatile reservoirs in the Moon’s interior share a common origin with reservoirs in the Earth, the researchers say._Carnegie Science

Why there is so little breathable oxygen in space?

Μπορεί να το αναπνέουμε κάθε λεπτό, αλλά στο διάστημα δεν βρίσκεται σχεδόν καθόλου μοριακό οξυγόνο. Το 1998, η NASA εκτόξευσε δορυφόρο με την προσδοκία ότι θα έβρισκε αρκετή ποσότητα οξυγόνου, κάτι το οποίο δεν συνέβει και οι επιστήμονες θεωρώντας ότι είχε υποστεί βλάβη στα όργανα μέτρησης, τον κατεύθυναν πίσω στην γή.

Major Advance in Artificial Photosynthesis

– Συνδυάζοντας βιοσυμβατές φωτοευαίσθητες νανοσυρμάτινες συστοιχίες με επιλε-γμένους πληθυσμούς βακτηριδίων, το νέο σύστημα τεχνητής φωτοσύνθεσης καθίσταται διπλά επωφελές για το περιβάλλον: ηλιακά τροφοδοτούμενη »πράσινη» χημεία, με χρήση απομονωμένου διοξειδίου του άνθρακα.

– Berkeley Lab Researchers Perform Solar-powered Green Chemistry with Captured CO2