How a mint became catmint

Catmint, also known as catnip, is well-known for its intoxicating effect on cats. The chemical responsible for the cats' strange behavior is nepetalactone, a volatile iridoid produced by catmint. An international team of ...

Analyzing the world's oldest woody plant fossil

Mapping the evolution of life on Earth requires a detailed understanding of the fossil record, and scientists are using synchrotron-based technologies to look back—way, way back—at the cell structure and chemistry of ...

The helix, of DNA fame, may have arisen with startling ease

Trying to explain how DNA and RNA evolved to form such neat spirals has been a notorious enigma in science. But a new study suggests the rotation may have occurred with ease billions of years ago when RNA's chemical ancestors ...

Rethinking planetary climate controls

Yale researchers have provided a new explanation for why Earth's early climate was more stable and warmer than it is today.

Chemistry can change the ingredients in planet formation

Planet and star formation starts with a lot of material collapsing, falling down onto itself because of gravity. In the middle of this, a protostar is being formed. This star will then start to get warm and eventually glow. ...

The chemical evolution of DNA and RNA on early Earth

RNA was probably the first informational molecule. Now, chemists from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have demonstrated that alternation of wet and dry conditions could have sufficed to drive the prebiotic ...

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