Scientists Create the First RNA Molecule That Replicates

Scientists Create the First RNA Molecule That Replicates

Scientists, and not to mention regular people, still have a lot more to learn about how life works and how it started to exist in the first place. Sure, the “Primordial Soup Theory,” for instance, might be compelling at a certain level, but it still has its shortcomings. The good part is that science never seems to give up when it comes to searching for answers.

A new huge scientific achievement might mean more insight regarding how life’s existence might have started on Earth. According to, the first RNA molecule that can replicate itself was created, thanks to scientists from the University of Tokyo.

Setting the stage for Darwinian evolution

According to the same source, the newly created RNA molecule also plays by the rules of Darwin’s controversial Theory of Evolution. The molecule is able to diversify in a complex way.

Project Assistant Professor Ryo Mizuuchi explained as quotes:

We found that the single RNA species evolved into a complex replication system: a replicator network comprising five types of RNAs with diverse interactions, supporting the plausibility of a long-envisioned evolutionary transition scenario.

The scientists also said as the same source quotes:

Honestly, we initially doubted that such diverse RNAs could evolve and coexist,

In evolutionary biology, the ‘competitive exclusion principle’ states that more than one species cannot coexist if they are competing for the same resources. This means that the molecules must establish a way to use different resources one after another for sustained diversification. They are just molecules, so we wondered if it were possible for nonliving chemical species to spontaneously develop such innovation.

The development of the RNA molecule also means the first empirical evidence that biological molecules can lead to the formation of complex lifelike systems.

Otherwise, scientists still have not responded to the age-old question “what’s the origin of life?”. But they’re confident that their discovery could play a role in solving that huge conundrum.

Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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