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New advances in abiogenesis

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  • #16
    Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
    Because your responces are vague without specidic references I am not sure what your point is.

    Your accusing science as guess work, and without more specifics than vague 'arguing from ignorance' your argument fails. I have a background geochemistry and yes a great deal of our past environments can be determined by the chemistry of the rocks, I believe my references have documented this concerning th ehisotry of the hydrothermal vents, Yo have at present offered nothing but vague speculations,

    This research di not conclusively reach the conclusion of the origin of life, but id is a sound beginning that primitive life lived at this time under these conditions.

    Source: https://sciworthy.com/3-42-billion-year-old-fossilized-microbes-in-an-ancient-hydrothermal-vent/



    Scientists studying structures that might be fossils of very early life follow careful standards to assess whether or not the structures are truly fossilized microorganisms. The scientists who studied the 3.42 billion-year-old fossils from South Africa analysed the specimens visually using a light microscope. Then they analysed the chemical composition of the specimens using several techniques, including mass spectrometry, Raman spectroscopy, electron energy loss spectroscopy, and x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy.

    The results of this suite of analyses indicated that the structures, which look like modern thread-like microorganisms, are made of fossilized organic matter. The fossilized organic matter on the outside of structures is chemically different from the fossilized organic matter on the inside of the structures. The scientists who discovered the microstructures suggested that these chemical differences are because the outer layer of fossilized organic matter was once a sheath or cell-wall, similar to what is seen in modern thread-like microorganisms.

    The analyses further revealed the presence of nickel associated with the organic matter of these structures. Nickel is found in the enzymes that some modern microorganisms living in hydrothermal vents use to produce energy and grow. The scientists also studied the minerals that these structures were preserved within and found that they fossilized when a type of quartz deposited on the walls of the deep sea vents where the ancient microorganisms lived.

    © Copyright Original Source




    References please . . .
    No. I'm saying that at this point we are still largely guessing because we still have insufficient data. And don't get me wrong, guess can still yield valuable insights, but they're necessarily limited due to our lack of information.

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
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    • #17
      Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
      No. I'm saying that at this point we are still largely guessing because we still have insufficient data. And don't get me wrong, guess can still yield valuable insights, but they're necessarily limited due to our lack of information.
      Well . . here is where we have to disagree based on the evidence. You are correct there remains many unknowns, but the geochemistry and the history of the different kinds of hydrothermal vents and the rocks that form from them is very well known and consistent up until today, This environment is unique and relatively isolated form the resto the ocean and ocean floor which had highly variable environments over time.
      Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
      Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
      But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

      go with the flow the river knows . . .

      Frank

      I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by Diogenes View Post

        I have no problem with assumptions or best guesses, merely the inevitable incredulousness of using intelligently designed experiments to try to argue there is no God. The problem is not the science but rather the intentional distortion and abuse of the science.
        Are you trying to argue that looking into whether life could originate through natural processes isn't an interesting scientific question? Or that it should be forbidden for people to look into it scientifically? Because that's certainly how you're coming across.

        Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
        I think my point is that we know enough to know that conditions were radically different then than they are now, but not enough to know what exactly those differences were, much less the role they would play. At this point it is still largely guesswork.
        I object to the term "guesswork" in this context. We can definitely make scientific inferences about the Earth's early atmosphere. It left traces on the earliest rocks, it's derived from the same materials that largely exist unmodified in gas giants within the Solar System, etc. While those things won't tell us the exact percentages of various gasses, they put limits on likely compositions that make this sort of thing far more than just a guess.
        "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by TheLurch View Post
          Are you trying to argue that looking into whether life could originate through natural processes isn't an interesting scientific question? Or that it should be forbidden for people to look into it scientifically? Because that's certainly how you're coming across.
          I don't see how I come across as such. My comment was clearly aimed at incredulousness. How you inferred the origins of life via "natural" processes isn't interesting or looking into such is forbidden is strange.

          Methodological naturalism arose in Europe in conjunction with the world being considered as rationally ordered by God as opposed to the chaos needing to be constrained by pagan means.

          The problem comes in as where the experiment is intelligent designed the paradigm of many explicitly precludes any such intelligent design in the original circumstances. Furthermore, the experiments are designed using hypothetical environments, not actual.
          P1) If , then I win.

          P2)

          C) I win.

          Comment


          • #20


            Originally posted by Diogenes View Post
            I don't see how I come across as such. My comment was clearly aimed at incredulousness. How you inferred the origins of life via "natural" processes isn't interesting or looking into such is forbidden is strange.
            I made that inference because you seem to be demanding the impossible. What form does the research need to take in order for you not to object to it?

            Originally posted by Diogenes View Post
            The problem comes in as where the experiment is intelligent designed the paradigm of many explicitly precludes any such intelligent design in the original circumstances. Furthermore, the experiments are designed using hypothetical environments, not actual.
            Let me suggest better phrasing: this isn't "the" problem - it's your problem with the work.

            Short of developing time travel, we're never going to experiment in the actual environment. Just as we'll never go back in time to examine the precise quark-gluon plasma that existed in the first instances after the Big Bang. But we can create quark-gluon plasmas in particle accelerators, and use those to infer things about what was going on in the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang, and how those might have influenced the universe that ensued. That's just good science, and I'd be surprised if many people here would have an issue with it.

            Origin of life research really isn't any different. It takes evidence from geology, planetary science, and astronomy to infer potential conditions that were likely to have existed in the early Earth. It then looks at the sort of chemical reactions that occur under those conditions, and whether those can build complex chemicals, including those that are currently in use by living things. That, to me, looks like the same quality of science. Maybe you can explain how you see them as different.

            I'd also note that parts of your verbiage seem disingenuous. I'm not sure how "an attempt to recreate natural conditions" is equivalent to "intelligently designed". And I find it hard to believe anyone posting in a science forum has issues with science excluding an impossible-to-evaluate idea like "an unknown intelligent being intervened." It's been excluded from the scientific process for centuries because it's completely unworkable, and I'm pretty sure that's widely recognized.
            "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by TheLurch View Post
              I made that inference because you seem to be demanding the impossible. What form does the research need to take in order for you not to object to it?
              At no point have I objected to the research itself.


              Let me suggest better phrasing: this isn't "the" problem - it's your problem with the work.
              I don't have a problem with the work.


              I'd also note that parts of your verbiage seem disingenuous. I'm not sure how "an attempt to recreate natural conditions" is equivalent to "intelligently designed".
              I have no issue per se with attempts to recreate hypothetical natural conditions for experimentation. How have I been "disingenuous"?


              And I find it hard to believe anyone posting in a science forum has issues with science excluding an impossible-to-evaluate idea like "an unknown intelligent being intervened." It's been excluded from the scientific process for centuries because it's completely unworkable, and I'm pretty sure that's widely recognized.
              At no time have had any issue with science excluding an impossible-to-evaluate idea like "an unknown intelligent being intervened". At no point have I expressed any issue with methodological naturalism itself.

              The ideological (ab)use of science is just at home on a science forum as the experimentation itself. Both atheists and theists can accept methodical naturalism but only one entails metaphysical naturalism. I merely noted the humor in the inevitable usage an intelligently designed experiments based of assumptions to argue for chance.
              P1) If , then I win.

              P2)

              C) I win.

              Comment


              • #22
                A major goal of the present research is to research how inorganic molecular replication can occur in the initial stages of abiogenesis. The following reference explores the current research reflecting this goal.



                Source: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsif.2021.0814



                Abstract


                In the mid-twentieth century, multiple Nobel Prizes rewarded discoveries of a seemingly universal set of molecules and interactions that collectively defined the chemical basis for life. Twenty-first-century science knows that every detail of this Central Dogma of Molecular Biology can vary through either biological evolution, human engineering (synthetic biology) or both. Clearly the material, molecular basis of replicating, evolving entities can be different. There is far less clarity yet for what constitutes this set of possibilities. One approach to better understand the limits and scope of moving beyond life's central dogma comes from those who study life's origins. RNA, proteins and the genetic code that binds them each look like products of natural selection. This raises the question of what step(s) preceded these particular components? Answers here will clarify whether any discrete point in time or biochemical evolution will objectively merit the label of life's origin, or whether life unfolds seamlessly from the non-living universe.

                Last year, three publications described how the genetic material of more than 200 bacteriophage viruses uses 1-aminoadenine (Z) instead of adenine (A) [14]. This minor difference in chemical structures is nevertheless a fundamental deviation from the standard alphabet of four nucleobases established by biological evolution at the time of life's Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA). Placed into broader context, the finding illustrates a deep shift taking place in our understanding of the chemical basis for biology.

                A slew of mid-twentieth-century Nobel Prizes were awarded for discovering a seemingly unifying molecular basis for all life on our planet. Nucleotide sequences (nucleic acid) carry each organism's genetic material, written in the alphabet of four nucleobases described above, whereas protein sequences, comprising the very different chemical language of amino acids, produce the catalysis of metabolism [5]. The chemical structure of nucleic acid explains replication, including the inheritance of variations and hence evolution by natural selection [6]. Each protein's shape and catalytic function derive from the sequences produced by linking together just 20 different types of amino acids [7]. Each protein sequence is specified by a corresponding gene sequence [8] through a genetic code that defines a meaning (translation) for every possible genetic code-word [9]. Collectively, these foundations of biochemistry became known as the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology [10] and more than one of the Nobel-winning scientists talked about having uncovered the ‘secret(s) of life’ [11,12]. While this pioneering research may not have searched for or found a formal definition of life, it presented one, for most practical purposes, to the molecular biology revolution [13] that it unleashed (figure 1a).

                © Copyright Original Source

                Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                go with the flow the river knows . . .

                Frank

                I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Diogenes View Post

                  I have no problem with assumptions or best guesses, merely the inevitable incredulousness of using intelligently designed experiments to try to argue there is no God. The problem is not the science but rather the intentional distortion and abuse of the science.
                  "I have no problem with assumptions or best guesses, merely the inevitable incredulousness of using intelligently designed experiments to try to argue there is no God. The problem is not the science but rather the intentional distortion and abuse of the science."
                  The post is a problem still. It is a odd conspiracy theory that the success of the science of abiogenesis would be used to argue that there is no God by atheists. The argument that there is no God is based on the lack of objective verifiable evidence for any of the conflicting beliefs in God(s) not the science of Methodological Naturalism. It is many of the more conservative Christians that are intentional at distorting the science to justify atheism.

                  The reality is the scientists researching abiogenesis could care less about the theological or metaphysical implications of their work.
                  Last edited by shunyadragon; 12-04-2023, 06:48 PM.
                  Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                  Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                  But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                  go with the flow the river knows . . .

                  Frank

                  I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                    The most hostile time might well have been during the Great Oxidation Event some 2.3 Billion years ago.

                    But the point is that we don't know much about conditions were like back then. For instance, we're still trying to figure out why the planet was warm during a time when the Sun was only producing something like 70% of the energy it now produces. A leading theory is that there was a LOT more methane in the atmosphere, but any evidence that this was the case is pretty scant.
                    I responded to this post again, because I emphasize what we know about the environment of hydrothermal vents, which is the subject at hand. The knowledge of hydrothermal vents is well known in detail regardless of what time in the geologic history they formed.

                    Again the environment of the atmosphere is not relevant to abiogenesis, because life did not exist in the atmosphere at that time. Actually the reason we know about the Great Oxidation event is by analysing the Geochemistry of the rocks formed at the rime. There is no relationship between the atmosphere and the hyrothermal vent environment at the bottom of the sea.

                    I had several courses in geomorphology and geochemistry, and we can tell in detail the temperature, pressure and composition of the rocks formed in the different kinds of vent 3.5 billion years ago and today.

                    Source: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Pressure-temperature-plot-for-the-global-hydrothermal-sites-dataset-used-from-15-32_fig4_321938734




                    Pressure–temperature plot for the global hydrothermal sites (dataset used from [15,32]). An open star and open circles, respectively, represent the Yokosuka site and other OT sites, whereas black dots represent global hydrothermal sites. A broken curve and the grey hexagon, respectively, represent the two-phase boundary and critical point for 3.5% NaCl solution [44]. A horizontal broken-dot line represents the deepest strait in the East China Sea.


                    Deepest and hottest hydrothermal activity in the Okinawa Trough: the Yokosuka site at Yaeyama Knoll
                    Article
                    Full-text available

                    • Dec 2017

                    Since the initial discovery of hydrothermal vents in 1977, these ‘extreme’ chemosynthetic systems have been a focus of interdisciplinary research. The Okinawa Trough (OT), located in the semi-enclosed East China Sea between the Eurasian continent and the Ryukyu arc, hosts more than 20 known vent sites but all within a relatively narrow depth range..

                    © Copyright Original Source

                    Last edited by shunyadragon; 12-04-2023, 07:21 PM.
                    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                    go with the flow the river knows . . .

                    Frank

                    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post



                      The post is a problem still. It is a odd conspiracy theory that the success of the science of abiogenesis would be used to argue that there is no God by atheists.

                      Calling something a conspiracy theory doesn't make it one. Assuming the individual is an actual atheist, which is quite rare, the conflation of methodical naturalism to metaphysical naturalism is quite common.


                      The argument that there is no God is based on the lack of objective verifiable evidence for any of the conflicting beliefs in God(s) not the science of Methodological Naturalism.
                      Which would be a categorical error and that is an argument from ignorance.

                      It is many of the more conservative Christians that are intentional at distorting the science to justify atheism.
                      Tu quoque

                      The reality is the scientists researching abiogenesis could care less about the theological or metaphysical implications of their work.
                      As I've said, I have no problem with the science itself.
                      Last edited by Diogenes; 12-04-2023, 07:42 PM.
                      P1) If , then I win.

                      P2)

                      C) I win.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        The problem of claiming to find the oldest fossils greater than 3 billions year sold sometimes turns out to likely not fossils after further research.

                        Source: https://theconversation.com/the-worlds-oldest-fossils-or-oily-gunk-new-research-suggests-these-3-5-billion-year-old-rocks-dont-contain-signs-of-life-198865



                        The world’s oldest fossils or oily gunk? New research suggests these 3.5 billion-year-old rocks don’t contain signs of life

                        Published: February 1, 2023 2:11pm EST



                        The Pilbara region of Western Australia is home to one of the most ancient surviving pieces of Earth’s crust, which has been geologically unchanged since its creation some 3.5 billion years ago.

                        Some of the oldest signs of life have been found here, in the North Pole area west of the town of Marble Bar, in black rocks composed of fine-grained quartz called chert.
                        Veins of black chert found in the Pilbara open a window onto Earth as it was 3.5 billion years ago. Birger Rasmussen
                        Some features in the so-called “Apex chert” have been identified as the fossilised remains of microbes much like the bacteria that still survive today. However, scientists have debated the true origin of these features ever since they were discovered 30 years ago.

                        In new research published in Science Advances, we show the carbon-rich compounds also found in the chert may have been produced by non-biological processes. This suggests the supposed “fossils” are not remnants of early lifeforms but rather artefacts of chemical and geological processes.
                        Read news coverage based on evidence, not tweets

                        Get newsletterControversial Pilbara fossils


                        In 1993, American palaeobiologist William Schopf spotted carbon-rich filaments in outcrops of the 3.45 billion year old Apex chert. He interpreted them as the charred remains of fossilised microbes similar to cyanobacteria, which were Earth’s first oxygen-producing organisms and are still abundant today.

                        The existence of fossilised cyanobacteria in such old rocks would imply that life was already pumping oxygen into the air more than a billion years before Earth’s atmosphere became rich in oxygen.

                        A key piece of evidence in favour of life was the association of organic compounds with the ancient fossils. This is because living cells are made up of large organic molecules, which comprise mainly carbon as well as hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and other elements.
                        Tiny structures like these, found in ancient black chert, have been interpreted as fossilised bacteria. Brasier et al.
                        In 2002, Schopf’s interpretation was challenged by English palaeobiologist Martin Brasier and his team. They showed the “fossils” displayed a variety of shapes and sizes uncharacteristic of cyanobacteria, and indeed, inconsistent with microbial life. What’s more, they also showed the fossil-bearing black cherts were not horizontal beds deposited on the seafloor, but angled veins cutting across the underlying layers of rock.

                        The fossil-bearing cherts appeared to have formed at high temperatures during volcanic activity. Brasier argued this environment was hostile to life and the “fossils” were, in fact, formed from graphite impurities in the rock. They also speculated that the carbon associated with the “fossils” may not even be biological in origin.

                        A lively debate ensued, and it has continued ever since.
                        Microbes or hot fluids?


                        To try to determine where the carbon-rich deposits in the black chert veins came from, we took a very close look at them with a high-magnification electron microscope.

                        We found it did not come from fossilised bacteria. The oil-like substance occurs as residues in fractures and as petrified droplets, which have previously been mistaken for ancient fossils.

                        The textures in the black chert veins indicate they were formed when hot fluids rich in silica and carbon moved through cracks in lava flows below vents in the seafloor similar to modern “black smoker” vents. Upon approaching the seafloor, the hot fluids infiltrated layers of volcanic sediment, replacing it with black chert.

                        © Copyright Original Source



                        This may also be true of some claims of the possible fossils found in rocks from Mars.
                        Last edited by shunyadragon; 12-04-2023, 10:06 PM.
                        Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                        Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                        But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                        go with the flow the river knows . . .

                        Frank

                        I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Based on the conclusions of post #25 and other sources I believe that the search for the very simple first life forms is futile. The best ways that abiogenesis can be falsified to a degree is to recreate abiogenesis in the lab based on the environment and how replicating inorganic molecules can form the earliest simple life forms. I also believe that AI may have a significant role in this process.
                          Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                          Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                          But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                          go with the flow the river knows . . .

                          Frank

                          I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Some of the problems of how abiogenesis took place relate to how prebiotic life cells were capable of organizing given an ideal environment. As I noted before it is likely impossible to find actual fossil evidence for prebiotic life or the very earliest life, therefore it is left to labs and computer generated models of abiogenesis. The following is an example,

                            Source: [URL="https://astrobiology.com/2023/12/multistable-protocells-can-aid-the-evolution-of-prebiotic-autocatalytic-sets.html"

                            https://astrobiology.com/2023/12/mul...ytic-sets.html[/URL]]

                            Multistable Protocells Can Aid the Evolution of Prebiotic Autocatalytic Sets

                            By Keith Cowing

                            December 27, 2023

                            Filed under evolution, Life, origin of life, protocellAn illustration of a protocell inside an aqueous medium buffered with monomeric food molecules, (1) . The protocell membrane is composed of dimer molecules (2) — Life
                            We present a simple mathematical model that captures the evolutionary capabilities of a prebiotic compartment or protocell.

                            In the model, the protocell contains an autocatalytic set whose chemical dynamics is coupled to the growth–division dynamics of the compartment. Bistability in the dynamics of the autocatalytic set results in a protocell that can exist with two distinct growth rates.

                            Stochasticity in chemical reactions plays the role of mutations and causes transitions from one growth regime to another. We show that the system exhibits ‘natural selection’, where a ‘mutant’ protocell in which the autocatalytic set is active arises by chance in a population of inactive protocells, and then takes over the population because of its higher growth rate or ‘fitness’.

                            The work integrates three levels of dynamics: intracellular chemical, single protocell, and population (or ecosystem) of protocells.

                            Angad Yuvraj Singh and Sanjay Jain
                            Life 2023, 13(12), 2327; DOI: 10.3390/life13122327

                            Multistable Protocells Can Aid the Evolution of Prebiotic Autocatalytic Sets, Life (open access)

                            © Copyright Original Source

                            Last edited by shunyadragon; 12-28-2023, 09:08 AM.
                            Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                            Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                            But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                            go with the flow the river knows . . .

                            Frank

                            I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Diogenes View Post
                              Methodological naturalism arose in Europe in conjunction with the world being considered as rationally ordered by God as opposed to the chaos needing to be constrained by pagan means.
                              Actually it was developed and used earlier by Islamic scientists. Unfortunately the bold above is still argued today by some Theists. Instead of pagan means they accuse science of being atheist.

                              The problem comes in as where the experiment is intelligent designed the paradigm of many explicitly precludes any such intelligent design in the original circumstances. Furthermore, the experiments are designed using hypothetical environments, not actual.
                              Science does not preclude the possibility of 'Intelligent Design' The problem is because 'Intelligent Design' requires evidence of a Designer, and it requires the falsification of a hypothesis that the complecity of life cannot form by natural processes, Neither is possible through scientific methods.

                              I would address this issue from a purely scientific geochemical perspective. The atmosphere, oceans, were indeed hostile to any form of life 3,5 billion years ago, we do have a great deal of knowledge of the early earth environments through knowing the temperature, chemical composition of the waters and the earth materials around the spreading zones and the hydrothermal vents, which have been active the whole history of the earth since. The geochemistry of the water and earth around the vents has not changed. Geochemistry has been falsified as a very predictive science.

                              Also we know that the waters of the oceans and the atmosphere were not capable of supporting life through studying the geochemistry of the rocks formed at the time. We know the environment around the great Oxidation event by researching .the rocks that form at the time.

                              The Natural Laws and natural process of how rocks from and under what conditions has not changed in the history of the universe.
                              Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                              Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                              But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                              go with the flow the river knows . . .

                              Frank

                              I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Since the finding of actual fossil evidence of the earliest forms of life is virtually likely impossible. Scientists are focused on recreating the geochemical environment of the vents and spreading zones, and recreating the basic organic chemistry that is needed to form the earliest life forms. The following is an example is part of this research in the natural development of fatty acids under the conditions of hydrothermal vents..

                                Source: https://scitechdaily.com/unraveling-the-origins-of-life-scientists-discover-key-organic-molecules-in-ancient-vents/



                                Newcastle University scientists, supported by the UK’s Natural Environmental Research Council, have been delving into the mystery of life’s emergence on Earth over 3.5 billion years ago.

                                They have explored the transformation of inert geological materials into the first living systems. Their experiments involved combining hydrogen, bicarbonate, and iron-rich magnetite under conditions similar to mild hydrothermal vents. This process resulted in a range of organic molecules, notably including fatty acids with up to 18 carbon atoms.

                                Published in the journal Communications Earth & Environment, their findings potentially reveal how some key molecules needed to produce life are made from inorganic chemicals, which is essential to understanding a key step in how life formed on the Earth billions of years ago. Their results may provide a plausible genesis of the organic molecules that form ancient cell membranes, that were perhaps selectively chosen by early biochemical processes on primordial Earth.
                                Fatty acids in the early stages of life


                                Fatty acids are long organic molecules that have regions that both attract and repel water that will automatically form cell-like compartments in water naturally and it is these types of molecules that could have made the first cell membranes. Yet, despite their importance, it was uncertain where these fatty acids came from in the early stages of life. One idea is that they might have formed in the hydrothermal vents where hot water, mixed with hydrogen-rich fluids coming from underwater vents mixed with seawater containing CO2.


                                The group replicated crucial aspects of the chemical environment found in early Earth’s oceans and the mixing of the hot alkaline water from around certain types of hydrothermal vents in their laboratory. They found that when hot hydrogen-rich fluids were mixed with carbon dioxide-rich water in the presence of iron-based minerals that were present on the early Earth it created the types of molecules needed to form primitive cell membranes.

                                Lead author, Dr. Graham Purvis, conducted the study at Newcastle University and is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Durham University.

                                He said: “Central to life’s inception are cellular compartments, crucial for isolating internal chemistry from the external environment. These compartments were instrumental in fostering life-sustaining reactions by concentrating chemicals and facilitating energy production, potentially serving as the cornerstone of life’s earliest moments.

                                The results suggest that the convergence of hydrogen-rich fluids from alkaline hydrothermal vents with bicarbonate-rich waters on iron-based minerals could have precipitated the rudimentary membranes of early cells at the very beginning of life. This process might have engendered a diversity of membrane types, some potentially serving as life’s cradle when life first started. Moreover, this transformative process might have contributed to the genesis of specific acids found in the elemental composition of meteorites.”

                                Principal Investigator Dr. Jon Telling, Reader in Biogeochemistry, at the School of Natural Environmental Sciences, added:

                                “We think that this research may provide the first step in how life originated on our planet. Research in our laboratory now continues on determining the second key step; how these organic molecules which are initially ‘stuck’ to the mineral surfaces can lift off to form spherical membrane-bounded cell-like compartments; the first potential ‘protocells’ that went on to form the first cellular life.”

                                Intriguingly, the researchers also suggest that membrane-creating reactions similar reactions, could still be happening in the oceans under the surfaces of icy moons in our solar system today. This raises the possibility of alternative life origins in these distant worlds.

                                Reference: “Generation of long-chain fatty acids by hydrogen-driven bicarbonate reduction in ancient alkaline hydrothermal vents” by Graham Purvis, Lidija Šiller, Archie Crosskey, Jupiter Vincent, Corinne Wills, Jake Sheriff, Cijo Xavier and Jon Telling, 10 January 2024, Communications Earth & Environment.
                                DOI: 10.1038/s43247-023-01196-4

                                The study was funded by the Natural Environmental Research Council.

                                © Copyright Original Source




                                Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                                Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                                But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                                go with the flow the river knows . . .

                                Frank

                                I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                                Comment

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                                Started by rogue06, 11-28-2023, 06:19 PM
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                                Last Post rogue06
                                by rogue06
                                 
                                Started by Catholicity, 11-28-2023, 12:14 PM
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                                Last Post Cow Poke  
                                Started by shunyadragon, 11-17-2023, 11:35 PM
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                                Last Post shunyadragon  
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