Jeffrey Kieft, PhD, professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics and corresponding author of the article in Nature, said scientists have long thought that the molecular signals that initiate protein synthesis in bacteria and eukaryotes are mutually exclusive. Scientists in Kieft's lab explored whether a structured RNA molecule from a virus that infects eukaryotic cells could function in bacteria. Surprisingly, they found that it could initiate protein syntheses, a process necessary for life.We often talk about viruses about being a kind of quasi-life. Maybe they are also pre-life.
"What we found bridges billions of years of evolutionary divergence," said Kieft, who is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Early Career Scientist.
...in unexpected ways.
By Grim on Tuesday, February 17, 2015