Major funding for prebiotic evolution research programme


The International Human Frontier Science Program Organization recently announced 35 $ million over the next 3 years to support pioneering work on the complex mechanisms of living organisms. 34 grants were attributed over 814 applications. Among the winners, the project carried by Philippe Nghe at ESPCI Paris entitled « from self-reproduction to evolution in the RNA world ».
reproduction and evolution cycles using microfluidics

Is evolution possible in the absence of template-based replication? This is the main issue Philippe Nghe will try to answer, along with scientists from Boise State University (US), from the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences (Germany), and from the National Center for Biological Sciences (India).

To achieve this goal, the team will focus on the study of self-reproducing molecules using in vitro screening methods with droplet microfluidics. Scientists will thus try to show that reproduction can occur from RNA fragments with catalysts simpler than polymerases within reaction networks called AutoCatalytic Systems or ACS. ACS will be submitted to cycles of incubation and propagation, to study the properties of reproduction with heredity and variations of such living systems.

See the press release of HFSP: