Bevilacqua1-2019 Droplets

Bevilacqua1-2019 Droplets

Membraneless protocells under microscope

Membraneless protocells — called complex coacervates — can bring together molecules of RNA, allowing the RNAs to perform certain reactions, an important step in the origin of life on Earth. The Image shows droplets of complex coacervates as seen under a microscope. The inset shows RNA molecules (cyan) are highly concentrated inside the droplets compared to the surrounding (dark). At roughly 2-5 micrometers in diameter, the droplets are about 14-35 times thinner than human hair.

IMAGE: Bevilacqua Laboratory, Penn State