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The ICREA researcher Lluís Ribas publishes a book on the origin of life

By 22 de December de 2004November 18th, 2020No Comments
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The ICREA researcher Lluís Ribas publishes a book on the origin of life

We go back 3,800 million years in time. There is no life on earth but some molecular systems are gaining in complexity until they reach the point at which the first living systems develop.

It may never be possible to define the precise moment or the precise reaction that delimited the “boundary” between a planet “without” and “with” life. However, the study of this transition is the focus of several scientific disciplines. What were the first biochemical reactions that took place? Once life was formed, how did it evolve to its present genetic code? What can we learn about the origin of life by studying the modern components of the universal genetic code ?

These are some of the questions addressed in the book published by Lluís Ribas, ICREA researcher at the Parc Científic de Barcelona (PCB , Barcelona Science Park). This book is a collection of articles on the diverse processes that produced the genetic code, organized chronologically. The first articles are devoted to the origin of the planet, the appearance of the first cells, and the hypothesis of an RNA world. This introduction is followed by chapters which address the biochemistry and evolution of each of the central components of the genetic code. Published by , the book aims to provide the reader a general overview, but with in depth description, of the biological complexity of protein synthesis.

Entitled “The Genetic Code and The Origin of Life”, the book includes contributions from thirty researchers, among which we highlight Alexander Rich, at the Technology Institute of Massachusetts, Patrick Forterre, at the University of Paris-Sud, David Liu, at the University of Harvard, and Michael Yarus, at the University of Colorado.

Lluís Ribas is the principal investigator of the at the Institute of Biomedical Research of the PCB (IRB-PCB). This laboratory focuses its research on the study of the protein synthesis mechanisms of organisms that cause malaria (Plasmodium falciparum), Chagas disease (Trypanosoma cruzi), and infantile meningitis (Streptococcus pneumoniae). These mechanisms are critical pharmacological targets, the blocking of which could provide the basis of new therapies for the disease caused by the abovementioned organisms.