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Dissolved iron may have been key to RNA-based life

More than three billion years ago, in the primordial soup that was the cradle of life on Earth,  RNA took on many of the roles that its sister molecule DNA fills today — or so some scientists have speculated. A paper published 31 May in the online journal PLoS ONE posits one way that such an ‘RNA world’ could have worked: by making use of iron,  a common element in the watery environs of ancient Earth. 


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