Dear Colleague,

The RNA-Based Life Conference will take place as scheduled on November
15-17 at Indiana University. Our conference–like our scientific
community, our countries, and the civilized world–will not be held
hostage by the actions of a small number of outlaws.

To ensure that everyone has adequate opportunity to participate, we are
extending the on-time registration and abstract submission by ten days to
5 October, 2001.

For the past two weeks, our thoughts have dwelled on images that have
shocked us and on the fates of people that most of us do not know. We wish
them well. Like many of you I have heard from, I have found it much more
difficult to focus my attention during this time, or to adhere to due
dates. The organizing committee hopes that the extension of on-time
registration will help those of you who wanted to participate to do so.

An outstanding lineup of speakers and sessions will bring an
interdisciplinary point of view to the question, “How viable is Life based
on RNA?” This meeting brings together experts from several disciplines to
discover i) whether we can create and exploit RNA- based life now to
biomedical or other advantage, and ii) whether ribo-organisms may have
once been in the oceans of Earth, under the rocks of Mars, or beneath the
ice of Europa.

Oral presentations will include invited plenary speakers and talks chosen
from among the submitted abstracts, with emphasis on four areas:

i) the expanding catalytic repertoire of RNA catalysts in vitro;

ii) the relationship between aptamer and ribozyme activities in vitro
and their function inside cells;

iii) biomedical applications for intracellularly expressed aptamers
and ribozymes; and

iv) comparative genomics and other computational approaches to
understanding RNA function.

Additional related topics will be represented in the poster presentations,
such as RNA structure, the role of peptides in the early evolution of
life, prebiotic chemistry, biomedical uses of aptamers against
extracellular targets, and others.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS: Jack W. Szostak and Stuart A. Kauffman

PLENARY SPEAKERS: David Bartel, Ronald Breaker, David Engelke, Michael
Famulok, Pamela Green, Andres Jaschke, Niles Lehman, David Lilley, Jim
Maher, John Rossi, Bruce Sullenger, Sarah Woodson, and Michael Yarus.

Here is a sampling of the titles of some of the talks:

“Ribozyme-catalyzed carbon-carbon bond formation”

Andres Jaschke*, Sonja Keiper, Dirk Bebenroth,

Richard Wombacher, Friedrich Stuhlmann;
University of Berlin

“Aptamers and antidotes: a novel approach to safer drug design”

Christopher P. Rusconi, Rebekah White, Elizabeth
Scardino, and Bruce A. Sullenger*; Duke

University Medical School

“In vitro selection of nucleoprotein enzymes”

Andrew D. Ellington, Michael P. Robertson, Scott
Knudsen, Jay Hesselberth; University of Texas, Austin

“New RNA catalysts for the Michael reaction”

G. Sengle, A. Eisenführ, O. Thum, S. Jager, P.S.
Arora, J.S. Nowick, and Michael Famulok*;

Universitat Bonn

“RNA Based therapeutic strategies for treatment of HIV infection”

John J. Rossi, Beckman Research Institute of the
City of Hope

“Effect of transcription and native state topology on folding of large

Sarah Woodson, Johns Hopkins University

“Non-ribosomal peptides in the evolution of an RNA-protein World”

Renée Schroeder, University of Vienna, Institute

of Microbiology and Genetics

“Rescue of abasic hairpin ribozymes by exogenous nucleobases”

Martha J. Fedor*, Lori L. Lebruska, and Iaroslav
I. Kuzmine, The Skaggs Institute for Chemical

Biology, The Scripps Research Institute

“Recombination in the RNA world: Sex from the start?”

Niles Lehman, Portland State University

“The structure, folding and active site of the VS ribozyme”

Daniel A. Lafontaine, Timothy J. Wilson, David G.

Norman and David M.J. Lilley*

“RNA decoys for DNA binding proteins”

Laura A. Cassiday, Lori L. Lebruska, and L. James

Maher, III*, Mayo Foundation

REGISTRATION: All the information and forms for registration and abstract
submission are on the website for the meeting: If after visiting the web
site you still have questions about registration, travel, and lodging,
they may be directed to Mary Morgan, Conference Coordinator, IU
Conferences, PO Box 249, Bloomington, IN 47402-0249, Phone: 800/933-9330,
Fax: 812/855-8077, email: (attn RNALife). Foreign
registrants only: Payment must be made in US dollars. Normally we require
that you obtain a cheque of bank draft drawn on a bank which does business
in the US. However, if this is prohibitively expensive, we may be able to
accept travelers cheques on arrival if you so indicate on your
registration form.

POSTER: A printable file of the poster for the meeting can be downloaded
from the meeting website.



Please forward this message to any colleague you think might be interested
in the RNA-Based Life meeting.

SUPPORT FOR THIS CONFERENCE has been generously provided by NASA’s
Astrobiology Institute, the National Science Foundation, Indiana
University (The Center for Genomics & Bioinformatics, IUB; Office of the
Chancellor, Dean of Faculties, College of Arts & Sciences, Research and
The University Graduate School, Department of Biology, Department of
Chemistry, School of Informatics, and the Office of International
Programs), the RNA Society, and the following corporate sponsors: Noxxon
Pharma AG, Trilink Biotech, Ibis Therapeutics, Integrated DNA
Technologies, Archemix Corporation, Pfizer, Inc., Ribozyme
Pharmaceuticals, NascaCell, RNA-Tec, New England Biolabs, and Dharmacon
Research, Inc.

ORGANIZERS: Donald Burke, Martha Fedor, Renee Schroeder, Andrew Ellington.