I'm really excited about recent progress in the field of recreating the RNA world. The very small bunch of people pursuing this is now tantalisingly close to having an RNA molecule that can replicate itself or other RNAs of the same size. Once they achieve this, I naively imagine, they could just let the magic molecule loose in their in vitro RNA world scenario and watch it evolving all by itself, re-enacting the origin of life. I wrote a feature about this for Current Biology last autumn, but since then Peter Unrau's group has made another step forward in mimicking modern aspects of gene regulation on the the RNA World stage, in a move that also improves processivity, i.e. the replicating ribozyme staying on the template for as long as it takes. So, my new feature, taking this step into account, is now out in C&I:
Spark of life
Chemistry & Industry Volume 85, Issue 5, May 2021 Pages 26-29
Wiley Online Library (paywalled)
SCI - appears to be on open access right now
Loving the carnivorous plant closeup on the cover - nothing to do with my feature, but with a feature on plant peptides.
PS The previous issue (No. 4) includes my review of the book Stem cells: From hype to hope on page 37)