showed RNA molecules that replicate in test tubes by themselves. He and his colleagues...showed that test tube RNA could mutate into new RNA molecules that replicated more rapidly than their 'parents.' Testtube RNA molecules by themselves, like viruses, proteins or DNA in solution are dead. Yet molecule systems can proliferate and mutate in the test tube when provided proper support."
Symbiotic Planet, p. 81-82.
"Certain RNA molecules not only replicate but act like proteins: they splice themselves. They thus rearrange their own molecular form."
"...that RNA behaves as the kind of protein that can rearrange and reorganize genetic material. This kind of RNA is dubbed a ribozyme. Given ribozymes,bits of RNA, with small spare parts (chemicals called ribonucleotides), evolve by themselves in a test tube."
"Using the principle of continuity, Morowitz casts autottrophs, bacteria that make their own food and generate their own energy from inorganic materials, as the original membrane-bound cells. Photoautotrophs do not have to eat; they use hydrogen rich chemicals without the aid of light for energy. Both photoautotrophs and chemotrophs derive carbon from the atmosphere's carbon dioxide. Neither eats organic compounds; that is neither eats food."
"Because life is intrinsically a memory storing system, some scenarios advanced to explain its origin seem unlikely tome."
"Today the membrane bound entities with identity and integrity are cells. fe arose in its cellular wholeness. the cells of today are, as Morowitz says, 'virtual fossils'."
"The precise amino acid sequence gives a protein much of its structure, and so determines what it will do, jsut as the sequence of letters gives the written wordits meaning. Proteins exist in many sizes and shapes with hundreds of functions."
"The minimal cells, those of the tiniest bacteria, about one-ten millionth of a meter in diameter, never, never stop their metabolism....they continuously undergo chemical transformations....Even the simplist bacterium is extremely complex. Yet its inner workings are still like those of larger life...The more closely we study the gene sequences and metabolism, the more we realize that all life since its origins has been similar to its bretheren, all other life."
"As the material stuff from which all living things are made, we have in another sense been around since the origin of the universe. The matter in the bodies of all life forms, including, of course, mammals like us, can be traced to the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and other elements that were made in the supernova explosions of stars."
Planet, A New Look at Evolution. p. 72.