After the well-known big bang that is popularly believed to have led to the formation of the earth, life started really small. Later different elements conjoined to form basic carbon-based molecules that triggered later events on the planet. A renowned hypothesis suggests that RNA or ribonucleic acid, which comprises the genetic blueprints and is known for performing ground level chemical reactions, generated life on earth. However, some scientists and researchers refute this particular idea opining that RNA is too complex and large to have started life on the planet. They further say that simple molecules had to have evolved to accomplish metabolic functions much before macromolecules such as RNA. This idea is known as “metabolism-first.”
Insights of Research
Different evidences have been found regarding the hypothesis of “metabolism-first” by scholars into this research from the University of Illinois. Evidences have been discovered by studying the molecular functional evidence in different organisms that represent all realms of life. The genomes of 249 organisms or the entire set of genes were attainable in the searchable database. The unique factor about this source which named the Gene Ontology or GO database is that each gene product has a RNA molecule or protein or basically a set of terms that describe the functions of the gene. A complete genome that represents any organism, similar to that of the human genome, can visualize the set of functionalities of the genome.
The team gathered the gene ontology terms that describe the molecular functions of an individual organism and reckoned them. The idea spurred that ancient functions such as the metabolism catalytic activity is probably found in sizable numbers and shared by all the organisms. On the other hand, the recent functions are found in small subsets of the organisms and in low numbers. This method was further used by the team to device a tracing path of evolution through history and time.