SUNY Orange professor distills the history of life into an hour lecture

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:36

Middletown — What’s been going on during the first three billion years of life’s history? If you have an hour to spare, come to the Gilman Center in the Library at SUNY Orange in Middletown at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 12, to find out. Walter Jahn, PhD, professor of biology at SUNY Orange will capsulize this huge amount of history in a lecture with entitled “The RNA World and the History of Early Cells.” In a press release announcing the program, Jahn said: “The concept of an RNA World at the dawn of life has changed the way we look at modern human cells, the fossil history of early cells, and the foundations of the human genome which evolved during in these early cells.” This presentation is the first in the Evolution Lecture Series which extends from October through April 2012. Various topics on evolution will be discussed. RNA stands for ribonucleic acid which is one of the three major macromolecules, along with DNA and proteins, that is essential for all known forms of life. Like DNA, RNA is made up of a long chain of components called nucleotides. The RNA World hypothesis proposes that life based on ribonucleic acid pre-dates the current world of life based on deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), RNA and proteins. RNA is able both to store genetic information, like DNA, and to catalyze chemical reactions, like an enzyme protein. It may, therefore, have supported pre-cellular life and been a major step in the evolution of cellular life. Jahn is a very engaging speaker who brings humor and good visuals into his presentations that make deep subjects more accessible for students and the general public to understand. He received a bachelor’s degree in science from Penn State, his master’s degree from Widener University, and a masters and PhD from Temple University. If you go This lecture, as all in the series, is free and open to the public and no registration is required. The campus of SUNY Orange County Community College is ADA compliant. The Library is located at the corner of South Street and East Conkling Avenue. Questions may be directed to Cultural Affairs at 845-341-4891 and or on the Web at