A Molecule Called Nickelback May Have Started Life On Earth


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Just what this first metabolic reaction might have looked like remains an area of speculation. It had to have been simple enough to emerge from the assorted components likely to be present already, yet still efficient enough to serve as a catalyst for changes in its environment.

Now a team of researchers from Rutgers University and The City College of New York in the US have identified a protein that may have played a crucial role in getting life as we know it started – a simple peptide they're calling nickelback.

This isn't a tribute to the well-known Canadian rock band, but rather a reference to the protein's backbone, consisting of a chain of amino acids and two nitrogen atoms bonded to a pair of nickel atoms.


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It's more likely these basic building blocks, simple amino acids, came flying in on meteoroids, just like water. These fellows haven't discovered anything.

When they can show simple amino acids organizing into complex proteins, give me a call.

Until then...big yawn.