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Thread: darwin chip

  1. #1 darwin chip 
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    has anyone seen the following article in New Scientist ?

    'Darwin chip' brings evolution into the classroom

    not sure if i understand what exactly has been discovered, even though it's claimed to quite momentous
    can anyone throw some light on this development ? are we talking silicon chips or potato chips here + how do the miniature chambers work ?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    That new scientist article is poorly written, I couldn't understand it until I looked at the journal article lol.

    They took RNA molecules capable of catalysing the ligation of oligonucleotides in the chip. So the RNA enzyme is catalysing it's own replication. They then did serial dilutions, so they added selective pressure to the system. The RNA strands that catalysed their creation more effectively and faster than others were more likely to survive the dilutions. Eventually the RNA enzyme was found to have 11 mutations and 90-fold improvement in substrate utilization. So, basically they are making a point that genetic material can alter itself over time to become better at what it's doing through selective pressure and mutation.

    Its not very mindblowing but it's kinda cool.


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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    so in a nutshell, the RNA world has just become a more likely precursor of DNA-dominated life
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  5. #4  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    That's then based on quite old research though. That is if the summary presented in this thread is correct.

    It's nice though that students can see these things now for themselves.
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