Monday, August 9, 2010
Recreate life to understand how life began: "We thought the spheres might get a little elongated as they grew, yet what happened shocked us. They started to sprout what looked like hairs and filaments. Even now, we do not understand all the details, but it seems that tiny tubules grow out of the surface because the membrane grows faster than the volume can keep up with. The cool thing is that, after half an hour, the spherical vesicle has transformed into a long, filamentous structure so fragile that it divides into daughter vesicles just by gentle shaking. So division, that part of the early cell cycle that looked so hard, turns out to be easy. Even wind-blown waves on a pond could turn the filaments into next-generation protocells."