Where did life begin? In a shallow lagoon, or in a vent of superheated water spewing from the ocean floor? If we knew, we might know where to look for life elsewhere in the universe. The “RNA World” hypothesis, which suggests that ribonucleic acid (RNA) was the original prebiotic molecule, has traditionally looked to a shallow, sunlit pool of water. But researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute say other environments on early Earth could have supported the formation of RNA.
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