Between a rock and a living place: A molecular paleobiology approach to explore life’s origins and early evolution
Tuesday 2 March 2021, 16.00 hours
– Betül Kaçar, Assistant Professor, University of Arizona
Join the YouTube stream: [link will be announced later]
In this talk, Betül will survey her group’s efforts in towards establishing a molecular paleobiology approach. She will further discuss how exploring the early evolution of ancient biomolecules, protein-cofactor interaction interfaces and metallosystems contribute to our understanding of origins and first life on Earth.
The geologic record and the genetic content of extant organism are two complementary datasets, providing insights into the history of how key biomolecules have shaped global environmental and macroevolutionary trends. Organismal survival depends on how well critical biological components can adapt to their environments, reflecting an ability to optimize efficiently to changing conditions. While the geologic record provides an array of biologically independent indicators of macroscale atmospheric and oceanic composition, it provides little in the way of the behavior of the biomolecules that influenced the compositions of such reservoirs. By reconstructing sequences of proteins that might have been present in ancient organisms, we can downselect and experimentally study a subset of possible variants that may have been optimized to these ancient conditions.
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