using direct laser writing (DLW), german technology company nanoscribe have integrated the means of photonic professional laser lithography systems to create three-dimensional printed forms in nanoscale. the unique ability to structure in 3D with sub-micrometer sizes opens the door for rapid prototyping applications in areas such as 3D photonics and biomimetics, micro-fluidics and mechanical micro-structures.
When sequencing 400,00 pieces of viral DNA located in Lassen Volcanic National Park he found a gene (made from DNA) that looked like the gene for a protein coat from an RNA virus. Upon further sequencing they found a a gene for DNA replication typical of a DNA virus. This was significant as the prevalent theory is that the prebiotic world was composed of RNA. The find proves that modern viruses can combine information coded in the two normally separate genetic molecules. This lends support to the idea that it was viruses that performed the “upgrade” from RNA and effectively gave rise to DNA (and all life as we know it today).
Stedman suggests that it may have formed when an RNA virus, DNA virus and retrovirus all infected a cell at the same time. This perfect viral storm could have triggered a three way genetic mash-up.
Let me introduce you to graptolites. These odd little prehistoric creatures were colonies of tiny marine animals which formed protective cup-like structures around their bodies and filter-fed on microscopic plankton. They’re classified as hemichordates, and their closest living relatives are a similar member of that group called pterobranchs.
They appeared in the fossil record between about 490 and 320 million years ago, and came in a wide range of shapes and sizes. There were single rows, double rows, branches, spirals, forks, and even net-like forms. The earliest types lived attached to the sea floor, but later ones floated around freely near the surface of the ocean and could reach lengths of up to 1.5m (~5ft). Some may have attached themselves to seaweed and floating debris, others are thought to have dangled from their own little bubble-like flotation rafts.
Their remains are so numerous and widespread that they’re very useful as “index fossils”, allowing paleontologists to precisely date the age of the rocks they’re found in.
Wiwaxia was a kind of prehistoric annelid worm (like earthworms). The spines and plates on its body were for defense against predators, and it had a mouth on its underside with teeth that could be retracted when not in use. The biggest fossil specimens have been 2 inches long, and the smallest 3.4 millimetres.