Iron’s Role in Early Life
When life began on Earth, iron may have done the job of magnesium, making life possible.
On the periodic table of the elements, iron and magnesium are far apart. But new evidence discovered by the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) team at the Georgia Institute of Technology suggests that three billion years ago, iron did the job magnesium does today in helping ribonucleic acid (RNA), a molecule essential for life, assume the molecular shapes necessary for biology.
The results of the study is scheduled to be published online on May 31, 2012, in the journal PLoS ONE.