Interesting Article on Original Enzyme

I thought the following article was interesting for two reasons. First the science itself is fascinating (at least to a complete layman like myself).

The second reason is the way the article is written. The title and introductory paragraphs make it sound like the research is concluded and facts are known. As you get deeper into the article, and get to the quotes from the scientists, it becomes clear that really what we have is a an interesting hypothesis that requires much more research. However, I wonder how many people read only the first few paragraphs (or only the title) and come away with a wrong impression.

Then I wonder how much of the bad conversations we have around science (or many other topics) are driven by articles written in this way.

Scientists have discovered the origins of the building blocks of life

I can’t seem to find the paper the article refers to. Anyone else?

Welcome to science journalism/university press release hype.


It’s basically the status quo in science journalism. It’s so bad it’s become it’s own meme.

In all fairness, many scientists have a bad habit of saying rather grandiose things about their own research. It would however not be fair to say this happens to an unusual extent in the origin of life field.

I suspect that a media embargo just lifted, so the secondary press is a bit ahead of PNAS in releasing their articles. The secondary article below has an alleged link to the paper, but it doesn’t connect to anything . . . yet.

However, there are at least two older PNAS articles by the same team which deal with the same topic.