Mankind has always looking for an answer to the question of how life began and has developed various theories about the origin of life. But now, for almost 2 centuries, Darwin’s theory of evolution has shed light on many enigmas that-were unknown to humans.
Inspired by the theory of evolution, researchers from the University of Tokyo conducted a long-term experiment on RNA replication and thus discovered a transition from a chemical system to biological complexity. Eventually, the research team created an RNA molecule that can not only reproduce but also “evolve” in-to a variety of more complicated molecules, acc. to a study published in Nature Communications. This finding can give us clues about earliest stages of evolution.
The new discovery is a significant breakthrough in terms of Darwinism because researchers have experimented a unique system of RNA replication, leading to a self-sustaining process of continuous change based on mutations & natural selection.
The experiment involved incubating RNA replicase molecules in oil-enclosed water droplets at 38.6°C for five hours straight. And then the nutrients were added to mix before being placed in an incubator for another 5 hours. This process was repeated up to 240 rounds. The result of this sequence analysis was that 2 RNA lineages branched into several sublineages host & parasite RNAs.
“Honestly, we initially doubted that such diverse RNAs could evolve & coexist,” commented Ryo Mizuuchi, corresponding author of the study. “In evolutionary biology, the ‘competitive exclusion principle’ states that more than one species cannot co-exist if they compete for the same resources. This means that molecules must establish a way to use different resources one after another for sustainable diversification. They are only molecules, so we wondered if it was possible for non-living chemical species to spontaneously develop such an innovation.
New insight into how life began
The study provides us with additional information about the early stages of evolution and a possible evolutionary route. It has also been shown that RNA can evolve & lead to complex life. The researchers plan to conduct further research to learn more about how RNA may have paved the way for biological systems. “The findings could be a clue to solve the ultimate question humans have been asking for thousands of years: What are the origins of life? Mizuuchi said.