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Resurrecting Ancient Biomolecules

Presenter: Amanda Garcia, University of Arizona
When: April 17, 2019 3PM PDT

For more than three billion years, life and the physical Earth environment have coevolved. A record of this coevolution has been left both in geological materials and in the genetic information of modern organisms. However, understanding the environmental conditions that accompanied the origin and development of early life has remained a significant challenge. On a molecular level, the intersection of biology and the environment can be revealed by the properties of enzymes that drive biogeochemical interactions. By reconstructing and studying ancient enzymes predicted by modern genetic information, biology can be used in a novel way to investigate both the early evolution of these enzymes and the environment of past life. The integration of ancient enzymatic properties and the geological record can reveal how the complex biogeochemical cycles that sustain life on Earth have evolved, and how they may develop on other worlds.

Amanda Garcia is NASA Astrobiology postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Arizona-Tucson department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

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