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A Hot, Acidic Primordial Soup
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Georgia Tech School of Biology associate professor Eric Gaucher and graduate student Zi-Ming Zhao discuss the evolutionary history of the thioredoxin gene family. Ancestral proteins of this gene family were resurrected in the laboratory and provide clues about the environmental conditions that hosted early life on Earth. (Credit: Gary Meek)

A new study has revealed that a group of ancient enzymes adapted to substantial changes in ocean temperature and acidity during the last four billion years. The results provide evidence that life on early Earth evolved from an environment that was much hotter and more acidic than today's. The research was partially funded by the NASA Astrobiology Exo/Evo program and the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI). The paper, "Single-molecule paleoenzymology probes the chemistry of resurrected enzymes" was published in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

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Last Updated: 18 April 2011

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Last Updated: 18 Apr 2011