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  • Images of membranes (circles) taken using transmission electron cryomicroscopy. Top: membranes in a solution that contains no amino acids. Bottom: membranes in a solution containing serine, an amino acid, which triggers membranes to form multiple layers of concentric membranes. Scale bars: 100 nanometers.
    Alex Mileant/Caitlin Cornell/University of Washington
    Images of membranes (circles) taken using transmission electron cryomicroscopy. Top: membranes in a solution that contains no amino acids. Bottom: membranes in a solution containing serine, an amino acid, which triggers membranes to form multiple layers of concentric membranes. Scale bars: 100 nanometers.
  • Images of membranes (circles) taken using transmission electron cryomicroscopy. Top: membranes in a solution of magnesium chloride, a salt that disrupts membranes, and no amino acids. Bottom: membranes in a solution of magnesium chloride and serine, an amino acid, which triggers membranes to form multiple layers of concentric membranes. Scale bars: 100 nanometers.
    Alex Mileant/Caitlin Cornell/University of Washington
    Images of membranes (circles) taken using transmission electron cryomicroscopy. Top: membranes in a solution of magnesium chloride, a salt that disrupts membranes, and no amino acids. Bottom: membranes in a solution of magnesium chloride and serine, an amino acid, which triggers membranes to form multiple layers of concentric membranes. Scale bars: 100 nanometers.
  • A model of how the building blocks of the first cells may have co-localized on membranes. Left: the building blocks of membranes, RNA and proteins in the primordial soup. Middle: membranes form (grey circle) and bind a subset of the building blocks, which in turn stabilize the membranes. Right: functional RNA and proteins encased by the membrane.
    Roy Black/Sarah Keller/University of Washington
    A model of how the building blocks of the first cells may have co-localized on membranes. Left: the building blocks of membranes, RNA and proteins in the primordial soup. Middle: membranes form (grey circle) and bind a subset of the building blocks, which in turn stabilize the membranes. Right: functional RNA and proteins encased by the membrane.
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