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26 27 initiation and CooPeration right from the start The origin of the first strand of DNA or RNA on Earth remains a mystery. It may have arrived from elsewhere, but even so, somewhere in the universe, nucleic acids must have been conjured from a primal ooze, perhaps in hydrogel during lightning strikes, or in deep hot fissures, underground or underwater. Lipid bilayers, the basic structure of cell walls, spontaneously form from phospholipids, and one strand of nucleic acid seems to have had the correct coding for manufacturing these. Thus was born the first organism below, which multiplied until its clones and variants began teaming up with or competing against one another. Symbiotic relationships see page 34 between singlecelled organisms like bacteria and archaea the two kinds of prokaryotes, see page 50 became formalised when colonies of cells began sharing their DNAstrands in a nucleus, giving rise to more complex, multicellular organisms eukaryotes, pages 5257. The story of life is, therefore, one of cooperation as much as competition. Importantly, cells are specialised for different tasks, much like human beings indeed human culture may be seen as uniquely resulting from specialization, or the division of labor. By trying new kinds of cells, forms, partnerships and energy sources, DNA hosts managed to leave their watery origin and survive in a wide variety of habitats, always carrying the currently successful versions of the DNA code around with them.
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