Stephen Freeland, INDS, in WIRED

Published: Feb 13, 2014

Most scientist accept the RNA world hypothesis, which states that RNA was the first biological molecule due to its ability to copy itself and pass along genetic traits. However, Nicholas Hud, a chemist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, wasn’t convinced.

A recent article in WIRED, courtesy of Quanta Magazine, discusses Hud’s experiment with the building blocks of RNA. The experiment made a breakthrough with the discovery of a chemical recipe that points to the existence of a molecule that might pre-date RNA.

Quanta interviewed Stephen Freeland, director of UMBC’s interdiscipinary studies program, for the article. “In my opinion, nothing like this has been seen before,” Dr. Freeland said, before going on to say that the experiment leads to conceptual progress, even if it did not use the exact components of the unknown molecule.

Read the entire article at


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