RNA has recently taken center stage with the discovery that RNA molecules sculpt the landscape and information contained within our genomes. Furthermore, some ancient RNA molecules combine the roles of both genotype and phenotype into a single molecule. These multi-tasking RNAs offering a possible solution to the paradox of which came first: DNA or proteins. This seminar explores the link between modern RNA, metabolism, and insights into a prebiotic RNA world that existed some 3.8 billion years ago. Topics include the origin of life, replication, and the origin of the genetic code; conventional, new, and bizarre forms of RNA processing; structure, function and evolution of key RNA molecules, including the ribosome, and RNA therapeutics including vaccines. The format will be weekly seminar discussions with presentations. Readings will be taken from the primary literature, emphasizing seminal and recent literature. Requirements will be student presentations, class participation, and a final paper.
Department of Biological Sciences
500 Fairchild Center
Mail Code 2401
1212 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027