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How did life begin on Earth?


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LINDAU, Germany—What steps led to the origin of life on Earth? Scientists may be zeroing in on that most profound of questions. “We’ve gone a long way to showing” the processes that “set the stage” for cellular life on Earth, Jack Szostak said Tuesday here in his talk at the 60th annual Nobel Laureate Lectures at Lindau.

Recent findings—such as that life seems to be everywhere on Earth—have encouraged scientific inquiries into the nature of life’s beginnings, said Szostak. Along with Elizabeth H. Blackburn and Carol W. Greider, Szostak won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for work in understanding telomeres [see Blackburn and Greider's Scientific American article “ Telomeres, Telomerase and Cancer ”]. His talk focused on his recent research on life’s start [see his Scientific American 2009 article, “The Origin of Life on Earth”]. He cited discoveries of microbes eking out existence in steaming hot springs in Yellowstone, in an acidic environment in Rio Tinto, Spain, and other hostile locations. “Even in rocks, there’s life,” he added, showing the audience an image of a green streak tenaciously spreading through rock. “Once life gets started, it can adapt and colonize many, many different environments.” In addition, astronomers have found hundreds of planets in other solar systems, and the space-based Kepler telescope recently identified more than 700 more candidate exoplanets. Many of those could have Earth-like conditions, raising the possibility that they also could harbor some form of life. How common might life be? “The question is: Is it easy or hard to make the transition in the chemistry of planets from not alive to alive?” asked Szostak.

Two critical needs for life are to create a membrane, which defines a boundary that can contain genetic material, and to replicate. Szostak said it is relatively easy to create a membrane from fatty acids that could have arisen in conditions that mimic early Earth; fatty acids, mixed in water with a little salt, readily create closed structures called vesicles.

Simple enough. But it took 10 years, said Szostak, to figure out how such material could grow and divide before the era of genetic machinery. In combination with certain molecules, scientists eventually learned, the once-stable vesicles grow long threadlike “tails.” “They become fragile in this shape,” said Szostak. “With a little disturbance, they divide.” These and other developments, such as how the primitive cells could have begun to acquire additional features that conveyed some advantage, offer a logical pathway to early evolution. “It’s something you can even imagine happening on the early Earth,” he said.

In a subsequent talk, John C. Mather, winner, with George S. Smoot, of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics, discussed, among other astrophysics questions, how the universe enabled conditions favorable to life. In explaining the early universe’s structure and evolution, “Astronomers have the easy part, I think,” he joked. Astronomers say, “OK, biologists, you have the next step [in describing life’s possible beginnings].” He noted that the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, will, among other things, seek Earth-like planets and glean clues about their chemistry—and whether they might harbor life.

Learn more about the Lindau meeting at Scientific American‘s sister publication Nature, the international journal of science, and a special web site featuring Lindau blogs, organized by Nature and Spectrum der Wissenshaft, Scientific American ’s German language edition. A slide show, Discoveries 2010: Energy, covers another Lindau initiative, a museum exhibit on energy sources.





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  1. 1. PotatoChip 9:55 am 07/1/2010

    Metaphysician, did you really say that you have control of my mind? Really? I hope others are reading this and getting as much of a kick out of it as I am.

    Link to this
  2. 2. hotblack 12:21 pm 07/1/2010

    I know I am. Listening to literalists is hilarious if not more than a little personally embarrassing, since, when I was a teenager, I argued nearly identical misconceptions and twisted logic from their positions as well.

    How self-centered, naive, and proud I was.

    Link to this
  3. 3. jpopplewell 3:12 pm 07/1/2010

    With the recent development of M(embrane)-theory and the possibility of a timeless universe with unlimited "big bangs", science is not willing to cede the feasibility of a universe without beginning or end. Science is a process of attempting to understand the nature of the cosmos, based on analyzing the latest available data using the currently available tools. The paradigm will inevitably continue to change. Science does not state a claim to "absolute" truth.

    Link to this
  4. 4. remarkedvial 3:43 pm 07/1/2010

    whew, (nervous laugh, wipes brow) for a second there, i thought you were serious, that was a good one.. can you imagine, that kind of ironic ignorance, posting on a science forum, on an article about the origins of life, using the same biological theories that confim human evolution from both fish and ape-like ancestors… nice one dude, you had me!

    Link to this
  5. 5. Gary Noel 8:57 pm 07/1/2010

    Hi Potato Chip,

    I am a scientist and have full knowledge of quantum mechanics, therefore please do not delve into any technicalities. I am not talking nonsemse as commonsense is part of my genes. The reason I mentioned genes is that it takes a long time even for a super computer to decode the genome, therefore you think genes design is JUST a fluke and there is nothing like Intelligence. I think in general most of the humans our intoxiated by the achievements they make especially in the scientific world without realising that all the periodic table elements (which makes up the whole physical univers) had been created by some Supreme being.
    In general I sincerely fell that the egoistic nature of the humans is clouting their Wisdom, therefore it will be difficult for them even to figure out obvious conclusions.

    Link to this
  6. 6. EmilyCragg 9:22 pm 07/1/2010

    Intelligence BEGETS intelligence. That’s all that we can prove.

    Link to this
  7. 7. PotatoChip 10:13 pm 07/1/2010

    Gary Noel, your post is (once again) almost entirely incoherent. It would be pointless for me to respond when you can barely put together an intelligible sentence let alone a lucid thought.

    Link to this
  8. 8. Macrocompassion 10:34 am 07/2/2010

    I was intrigued to learn that the development of the first living cells from the raw organic chemicals resulting from lightening striking the sea, would take so long to obtain the right combination of dna, as not to have produced any life here yet! In other words our life must have come from other worlds by meteorites.

    Link to this
  9. 9. Andira 3:14 pm 07/2/2010

    The most interesting idea here is that of spontaneous membrane appearance. But something is needed to explain the resilience of life, the overwhelming ‘will’ to live. I mean nothing divine here, merely that it is a fact to be explained. The misformulated idea of evolutionary pressure alone seems to presuppose that. That we all came from one single cell is perhaps not true. Or if we do, it was the most competitive one in a mass of spontaneously formed membrane-covered genetic units.

    Link to this
  10. 10. loveslawyerjokes 4:19 pm 07/2/2010

    It has taken less than 3000 years for Tibetans to evolve their ability to live at over 12,000 feet altitude (see NewScientist article presently on their website). It doesn’t matter whether life originated here or was brought here. We may never know for sure. The indisputable fact is that IT EVOLVED HERE!

    Darwin-1…Bible-0.

    Link to this
  11. 11. PotatoChip 5:15 pm 07/2/2010

    Andira, there is no need for any further explanation for the resilience of life or the overwhelming ‘will’ to live. The precursors of one-celled organisms had certain core competencies, self-replication being perhaps the most crucial. Those that had greater competencies replicated more. Those that had inferior competencies replicated less. Continuous competency increase was the result. That sufficiently explains the resilience of life.

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  12. 12. Elderlybloke 12:58 am 07/3/2010

    Gary Noel at 03:00 AM on 06/30/10,

    A very bold statement, based I suppose on theological grounds.
    Considering how much science has achieved up to now, and particularly in the last century, I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened soon.

    Hold on , I read that "artificial" life (Created as opposed to naturally occurring life) has been created recently.

    Link to this
  13. 13. Elderlybloke 1:34 am 07/3/2010

    Just a thought , Charles Darwin said " I believed in God until I was 40".
    That was his age when his daughter Anne aged 10, died of Tuberculosis .

    He could not believe after that,in a Christian God who would kill an innocent child like Anne in such a cruel way.

    Link to this
  14. 14. Some guy 1:51 am 07/3/2010

    I’m not a professional scientist but in the debate between intelligent design and evolution, in my opinion, at least the proponents of evolution are making a reasonable attempt to explain how life came to be. The evolution argument only assumes certain materials existed together along time ago and there was some form of energy present to create life. Thats more than I can say about the intelligent design argument which assumes the existence of an omnipotent being. In my book thats not even trying. You could use the omnipotent being theory to explain anything.

    Link to this
  15. 15. Piltdownman was innocent? 3:28 am 07/3/2010

    Elderlybloke says:
    ++ "Just a thought , Charles Darwin said " I believed in God until I was 40". That was his age when his daughter Anne aged 10, died of Tuberculosis . He could not believe after that,in a Christian God who would kill an innocent child like Anne in such a cruel way." ++

    It is also said that Adolf Hitler when a young man was refused entry to an Art Academy by a Jewish administrator. Hitler was heartbroken that his dream to be an artist was broken, and in revenge sought to kill an innocent nation.

    Thus Darwin, Hitler and Elderlybloke are wrong to blame others. Darwin had no understanding of germs or the dangers of the fact that his whole family line were involved in cousin marriages, including himself. Hitler was a madman, but Elderlybloke has no excuse to blame God the creator for the actions of man.

    Link to this
  16. 16. Piltdownman was innocent? 3:51 am 07/3/2010

    Some guy says:
    "The evolution argument only assumes certain materials existed together along time ago and there was some form of energy present to create life. Thats more than I can say about the intelligent design argument which assumes the existence of an omnipotent being. In my book thats not even trying. You could use the omnipotent being theory to explain anything."

    When Charles Darwin published his Book 150 years ago, evolutionists believed they had an answer for that certain material existing. Every evolutionist falsely believed in Spontaneous Generation. They fought against Louis Pasteur arguing that they the empirical evidence. Louis proved them wrong and evolutionists were forced to drop their ideas relating to the origins of life.

    `Some guy’ contends that this highly material evidence relating to the origins of life is the fact that evolutionists “Only assumes.” Thus we can see that the foundation of the theory of evolution is 100% assumption and zero% evidence.

    `Some guy’ contends that believing that God is that energy force and the creator; plus the author of the DNA `instruction book’ comprising of 3 billion base pairs is not trying.

    `Some guy’ would prefer to believe that nobody created the Universe and all life; and that it was all down to luck & chance.

    Link to this
  17. 17. Piltdownman was innocent? 4:07 am 07/3/2010

    Elderlybloke says:
    "Hold on , I read that "artificial" life (Created as opposed to naturally occurring life) has been created recently.."

    Never believe what an evolutionist tells you, especially if he produces a scientific paper. He recognises that 99% of evolutionists will immediately believe what he has written as Elderlybloke confirms.

    Quote:

    “Some other scientists said that aside from assembling a large piece of DNA, Dr. Venter has not broken new ground. “To my mind Craig has somewhat overplayed the importance of this,” said David Baltimore, a geneticist at Caltech. He described the result as “a technical tour de force,” a matter of scale rather than a scientific breakthrough.
    “He has not created life, only mimicked it,” Dr. Baltimore said.
    Dr. Venter’s approach “is not necessarily on the path” to produce useful microorganisms, said George Church, a genome researcher at Harvard Medical School. Leroy Hood, of the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, described Dr. Venter’s report as “glitzy” but said lower-level genes and networks had to be understood first before it would be worth trying to design whole organisms from scratch.”

    Google:
    Researchers Say They Created a `Synthetic Cell’, nytimes

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  18. 18. Piltdownman was innocent? 4:23 am 07/3/2010

    loveslawyerjokes says:
    "It has taken less than 3000 years for Tibetans to evolve their ability to live at over 12,000 feet altitude (see NewScientist article presently on their website). It doesn’t matter whether life originated here or was brought here. We may never know for sure. The indisputable fact is that IT EVOLVED HERE! Darwin-1…Bible-0."

    loveslawyerjokes’ “Indisputable fact” is false and is completely without merit. The Tibetans who are members of manKIND have the ability `to live at a higher altitude.’ This is not evidence for the dogma the theory of evolution. But evidence that God gave all his life forms the ability to change. (Also, see the Domestic dog).

    The Tibetans remain members of manKIND, and can reproduce with every other member of manKIND of the opposite sex. Thus only someone desperate to produce false evidence for their dogma the theory of evolution would argue that Darwin got it right over the Bible. Genesis 1:12 confirms the Law that cannot be broken.

    Link to this
  19. 19. Piltdownman was innocent? 4:36 am 07/3/2010

    Macrocompassion says:
    “I was intrigued to learn that the development of the first living cells from the raw organic chemicals resulting from lightening striking the sea, would take so long to obtain the right combination of dna, as not to have produced any life here yet! In other words our life must have come from other worlds by meteorites.”

    Evolutionists have absolutely no idea how “life” was created having rejected what the Bible has to say on the matter. This is confirmed by the fact that many scientists (a growing number) want to move their problem from our planet Earth to another part of our amazing Universe. This is confirmation that on such matters evolutionists are suckers for science fiction. Putting their problem trillions of miles away in space, shines no further light on their daydreams.

    Link to this
  20. 20. smerk08 6:46 pm 07/3/2010

    piltdownman are you still posting get a life

    Link to this
  21. 21. Some guy 8:23 pm 07/3/2010

    `Some guy’ contends that believing that God is that energy force and the creator; plus the author of the DNA `instruction book’ comprising of 3 billion base pairs is not trying.

    Thats right, beliving God is that energy is not trying. It doesn’t explain anything. It doesn’t produce any new knowledge or understanding. The most humble scientific experiment that produces at least some bit of knowledge is worth more than all the belief in the world no matter how grand.

    Link to this
  22. 22. Piltdownman was innocent? 4:00 am 07/4/2010

    Some guy says:
    "Thats right, beliving God is that energy is not trying. It doesn’t explain anything. It doesn’t produce any new knowledge or understanding. The most humble scientific experiment that produces at least some bit of knowledge is worth more than all the belief in the world no matter how grand."

    Your argument has no merit and is false. You wish to compare a highly material fact against an alleged "bit" of evidence, and you claim that any alleged "bit" of evidence is greater than God the creator.

    Where evolutionists and atheists go wrong is by ignoring the fact that when we open our eyes we can see the many awesome creations of God. You see our tremendous list of wondrous creations, such as the human brain, the Universe, our planet Earth our living home. You believe that “nobody” created these miraculous wonders, and it all happened by chance & luck. Science cannot create one grain of sand, nor does it fully understand the brain.

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  23. 23. Piltdownman was innocent? 4:15 am 07/4/2010

    smerk08 says:
    "piltdownman are you still posting get a life."

    Since the dawn of time we have had false propaganda being put forward. That is why God may sure that we were given the Bible to explain about our Creator, why we are on planet Earth and our future. In Genesis the first paragraph it confirms that in the "beginning" God created the Universe and our planet Earth. And then in the rest of Chapter 1 it explains the order of creation and expressly states that God is our creator.

    The Bible leaves no room for the dogma the theory of evolution to squeeze in. We love the new genetic evidence as it all confirms that the theory of evolution is a great big joke / hoax that is believed by the brightest young people on our planet Earth.

    Evolutionists must wake up and refuse to blindly accept what their high priests tell them.

    Link to this
  24. 24. loveslawyerjokes 2:42 pm 07/4/2010

    Piltdownman…why don’t you ask god why you have no money, no education, no success, no knowledge, no true friends, etc. The answer is that you rely on ancient jewish fairy tales for your foundation. The jews stole the stories from the Sumarians and others. The christians and muslims stole them from the jews. Now the evangelicals remake them to fit their needs. God is so powerful that he does not need to exist.

    Link to this
  25. 25. Piltdownman was innocent? 3:13 am 07/5/2010

    loveslawyerjokes says:
    “…why don’t you ask god why you have no money, no education, no success, no knowledge, no true friends, etc. The answer is that you rely on ancient jewish fairy tales for your foundation. The jews stole the stories from the Sumarians and others. The christians and muslims stole them from the jews. Now the evangelicals remake them to fit their needs. God is so powerful that he does not need to exist.”

    Further evidence that you are an evolutionist. You jump to conclusions with zero evidence; thus we can see why for 150 years evolutionists never get anything correct.

    Plus we can see that you associate having friends if they are allegedly rich, successful, educated to a high degree with knowledge that agrees with your dogma the theory of evolution.

    Due to the fact, the Bible, New & Old Testaments confirms your dogma is a hoax, and with no defence to protect your dogma you attempt to belittle the Bible.

    The Bible was inspired by God for all the 7 billion Adam & Eve lookalikes that walk on our planet Earth. There is no stealing of the truth.

    Link to this
  26. 26. ZheLih 1:29 pm 07/5/2010
    Link to this
  27. 27. joacho 8:14 am 07/6/2010

    More interesting would be to ask, where water came from.
    If we accept that earth was formed by a pice of a star!!!

    Link to this
  28. 28. TragicNought 8:45 am 07/6/2010

    I cannot understand the reason why scientists struggle to advocate the theory of evolution and random appearance of life on Earth even though they are totally aware of its impossibility. They would accept any myth, but the idea of a creator. In my opinion, believing in evolution supposes much more faith than admitting the existence of a god. I would probably try to fancy the way in which the first cell appeared randomly (although I know very well that it would have required the preexistence of RNA, DNA, proteins, etc, otherwise it was practically out of the question), but I find absurd the conception that a human, so intelligent and complex, could have evolved from a primary form of life. I’d rather believe in the idea that I have created myself. It isn’t more hilarious.

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  29. 29. Piltdownman was innocent? 10:03 am 07/6/2010

    TragicNought says:
    “I cannot understand the reason why scientists struggle to advocate the theory of evolution and random appearance of life on Earth even though they are totally aware of its impossibility. They would accept any myth, but the idea of a creator.”

    What would they do? It would immediately mean that they give up their golden egg; plus their top jobs, top salaries, top grants and resigning from their universities and educational departments; plus losing their friends, wives, boyfriends and girlfriends. Much easier to continue selling the lie, they know they will be bailed out just like the bankers when it is found their evidence is not there.

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  30. 30. deuron 4:38 am 07/7/2010

    Submitted: God did it and there is no other option.

    I could argue the irony of the use of words like "evidence", "myth".

    I could point out that, "Believing is a declaration of ignorance", but I’m
    not going to do …oops.

    I am going to warn all "Believers" not to read any further.

    If you’re a "Believer" and still reading this, I should offer these words of
    comfort. "The world (universe) will not change because of what you read here, you will
    simply see it more clearly. Its fascinating." Now, knowing that God loves me,
    gives me great comfort (a nice emotion). Knowing that God looks out after me,
    gives me comfort (another nice emotion). Knowing that God will cast me into
    hell isn’t comforting its scary (not a nice emotion), but it sure gets my
    attention.
    The positive emotions keep me wanting more, the negative emotions scare me
    and keep me from asking any questions. That’s right I can’t ask questions about
    my beliefs, I can’t even think them in my head without fear of damnation. What’s
    going on? I don’t want to cause harm, I just want to ask questions so I can
    understand.
    For those among you that want to ask questions and are still reading this, here
    is one answer. God, the devil, good and evil spirits are a distraction,
    a misdirection. Like an illusionist the "answer" hides itself from you. You
    spend your time discussing your religion, defending your religion.You try to
    swamp discussion groups with your religion, your emotions guiding you all
    the way(that’s a clue). You are under the control of the "answer". You do
    what it tells you to do and you are afraid not to. You have allowed yourself
    to be infected with the "answer" and you haven’t the courage (yet) to confront
    it. WARNING: THE ANSWER IS NEXT. TURN AWAY NOW.

    THE ANSWER: "Religion is the human form of a computer virus."

    That’s right your mind is like a processor running on bad machine code.
    You’ve got a virus in your head and it doesn’t want you to know. It wants you
    to worry about sin and salvation, while it controls your mind and restricts
    your thoughts. As long as it can hide from you, you’re just a puppet on
    a string doing its bidding. No one or "nothing" has the right to
    tell you, that you can’t think about anything you want to understand.
    So submit your opinion and let others do the same. Get well soon.

    Link to this
  31. 31. Piltdownman was innocent? 6:13 am 07/7/2010

    deuron says:
    “Submitted: God did it and there is no other option.” And then made a 1,600 plus word response.

    No one argues there are no other options. It is atheists & evolutionists who argue there is only one option … “God did not do it.” As proven by your remarks to think against your dogma gains one the insult of having a virus.

    Deuron says (in argument):
    “That’s right I can’t ask questions about my beliefs, I can’t even think them in my head without fear of damnation. What’s going on? I don’t want to cause harm, I just want to ask questions so I can understand.”

    Your entire objection to understanding God is in your God created brain. You believe the miracle of the most tremendous physical product in the whole Universe was created by NOBODY, and mere chance and luck. Thus you give evidence that you not only despise your Creator, but also you reject all the regulations regarding science. Science cannot produce a grain of sand and yet you believe under your dogma the impossible happened with the assistance of NOBODY by chance and luck.

    Deuron says:
    “For those among you that want to ask questions and are still reading this, here is one answer. God, the devil, good and evil spirits are a distraction, a misdirection. Like an illusionist the "answer" hides itself from you.”

    This may be evidence of where you have gone wrong. The Bible at Acts 15:17 instructs us to seek God. And we must stay clear of the Devil – James 4:7. Thus your alleged “answer” is a falsehood, an illusion.

    Deuron says:
    “THE ANSWER: "Religion is the human form of a computer virus. That’s right your mind is like a processor running on bad machine code. You’ve got a virus in your head and it doesn’t want you to know. It wants you to worry about sin and salvation, while it controls your mind and restricts your thoughts. As long as it can hide from you, you’re just a puppet on a string doing its bidding. No one or "nothing" has the right to tell you, that you can’t think about anything you want to understand.”

    You should forget “religion” which in the past may have done some wrong to you. Remember your Creator, please see Isaiah 40: 28 to 31.

    Link to this
  32. 32. Natey 4:00 pm 07/7/2010

    I have always been interested in the argument between Science and Religion. Not sure if it is between all religions and science or just creationists and science. This argument seems to only exist in the US. I am technically a Catholic however do not necessarily believe every word of the Bible. Just like a lot of the current historical records the Bible would have been changed and manipulated over time to suit various political and religious powers. It is hard to know what is fact and what is fiction. Even though I am a Catholic I also believe in the theory of evolution and cant really see how anybody can argue against it with the amount of evidence out there. I believe that the theory of evolution and the belief in a higher power can coexist.

    PS. I have no intention in trying to influence anybody in believing what I believe. I have never liked how every religion will try and push their beliefs like some kind of drug.

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  33. 33. eanassir 12:34 am 07/8/2010

    Life came to Earth from the outer space: embedded in the meteoritic rocks. Such meteorites were the remnants of the planets of the previous solar system.
    The planets of the previous solar system were inhabited with man, animal and plant; so the seeds of the plants and the branches of trees and the decayed corpses of man and animal were embedded in the portions of those destroyed planets.
    When these meteorites which were the remnants of the destroyed planets fell on Earth and rain water fell down and circumstances were suitable –> then life started to appear on Earth and God created from those remnats of plant, animal and man various species: male and female and they reproduced and filled the Earth.
    http://www.quran-ayat.com/universe/new_page_2.htm#Life_Is_Transmissible

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  34. 34. deuron 2:51 am 07/8/2010

    It sounds almost possible, except there are no polar bears, hedgehogs or bats
    on the moon. Certainly remnants from the old planet would have fallen on the
    moon too. Mars also could have collected remnants from the old planet. The
    mars rovers have not produced any evidence of polar bears, hedgehogs or bats.
    Perhaps this theory still has a few holes in it. Maybe with a little tweaking
    it could give evolution a run for its money.

    Does anyone have new information on the minimum length of RNA necessary, to
    produce life? Is there a theoretical minimum length?

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  35. 35. eanassir 7:12 am 07/8/2010

    Certainly the remnants of the previous planets fell on the other planets also, and the rest of our planets also have life on them although not yet discovered.
    http://www.quran-ayat.com/universe/index.htm#The_planets_Are_Inhabited_

    This is because life cannot come from fire and the planets originally were very hot in the past; so life must have come embedded in the rocks of the meteorites.

    Link to this
  36. 36. wywong 7:32 am 07/8/2010

    Most origin-of-life researchers pursue something that fits the following criteria:

    "Two critical needs for life are to create a membrane, which defines a boundary that can

    contain genetic material, and to replicate."

    I think the above criteria may be necessary for a stable life form, but not necessary for

    evolving life forms. Consider crossing a tiger with a lion. Firstly haploid gametes are

    produced during meiosis. Then a diploid zygote very unlike either parent is formed from

    fertilization. There is no "replication" involved and the second criterion is clearly

    inapplicable. A better second criterion may be "the ability to maintain a descending line

    of comparable or higher complexity". This criterion implies that there is no need for a

    membrane to preserve the successful genome; there can be a successful community of genomes

    with no single one more successful than others.

    The above picture may resemble the metabolism-first mechanism, but then again researchers

    in this field impose an unnecessary condition – sustainable simple chemical cycles. Such

    restriction limits the "biodiversity" of the colony and was very unlikely to evolve to high

    complexity.

    My scenario, in short, is like this:

    - at the beginning, organic building blocks were abundant in the ocean.
    - they combined and broke down naturally,
    - however unlikely, inevitable some large molecules managed to combine with other large

    molecules before breaking down, thus maintaining a small but non-zero population of all

    sorts of complex molecules
    - any environmental change could affect the makeup of the population, implying evolution

    right from the very beginning,
    - hydrogen bonding between complementary molecular chains and aggregation of heavy

    molecules due to gravity selected for long chain molecules that have complementary pairs
    -"life web", but no single sustainable cycle could be identified,
    - life did not spring out of inanimate objects in a freak accident; the first life was a

    continuum and an emergent behavior that evolved from a heterogeneous colony of molecules.

    IMHO researchers in this field are shackled by unnecessary criteria that seem obvious from

    their training as biologists or chemists. Nature, on the other hand, has volume and time in

    her hand. A chemical reaction that takes centuries to complete with a yield of 0.00001%

    will surely evade the eyes of the researcher but nature never minds. Her cup of tea

    actually.

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  37. 37. Gary Noel 1:48 am 07/9/2010

    How did life begin on Earth?

    When we ask this question, we are ignoring the definition of what “Life” is?

    Life- Animate object-Can look after itself (have a mechanism to look after its genome-evolution)? Have a decision making process? Can replicate?

    We here are focussing only on how life started (like how fire starts), but we are forgetting the fact that behind life is a biological computer (with intelligence) powered by (you can guess).

    Based on this approach I again re-iterate the fact that our earth was pollinated by comets (bees of the cosmos).

    The above message is meant for all participants except Mr Potatochip, therefore he is kindly requested not to respond.

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  38. 38. deuron 7:40 am 07/9/2010

    to Gary Noel

    This would certainly eliminate the difficult task of explaining how
    life began by moving it off the planet. Where did the "pollen" on
    the comets come from? Don’t say outerspace.

    to wywong

    I have had an image of a "stew" of amino acids collecting in a secluded
    cove. Several million years later, a primitive structure of amino acid
    chains and proteins begins to multiply. That’s about as detailed as my
    vision of the beginning of life got. This image was prompted by the
    experiments first conducted (as best I can remember)in the 1950′s. A
    closed sterile system of flasks connected by glass tubes is filled with
    gases that were prominent on the ancient earth, and water. Heat was
    applied to one flask, an electric arc was introduced in another. After
    a period of time, the water turned brown. The solution was analyzed and
    found to contain amino acids. They named the solution "primordial soup".

    Your comment gave my image greater detail, thank you. I’m seeing not only
    chains of amino acids but, small amino acid structures that could act as
    primitive tRNA’s. Eventually the tRNA could find a chain that codes for a
    splicing enzyme, another chain that codes for proteins capable of producing
    cell walls and so on.

    I feel this could be described as a biochemical reaction even though it
    is occuring during the pre-life period of the planet. When enough molecular
    tools become available a "sustainable simple chemical cycle" could be reached.
    A simplistic analogy would be, shuffling a deck of cards (without looking)
    until you deal yourself a royal flush. The "colony" has no goal or design
    regarding its activity. It’s just obeying the laws of physics and with
    enough time it could deal its own "royal flush".

    Link to this
  39. 39. radscal 2:52 pm 07/9/2010

    The evidence that all life on earth shares a common ancestor does not necessarily mean that life only arose once. There could have been many instances of life forming, but all except the progeny of one have gone extinct. In fact, it’s quite possible that life is forming even now, but is quickly eradicated by living things already here (and with a nearly 4 billion year head-start in evolving systems to survive).

    Link to this
  40. 40. radscal 2:52 pm 07/9/2010

    The evidence that all life on earth shares a common ancestor does not necessarily mean that life only arose once. There could have been many instances of life forming, but all except the progeny of one have gone extinct. In fact, it’s quite possible that life is forming even now, but is quickly eradicated by living things already here (and with a nearly 4 billion year head-start in evolving systems to survive).

    Link to this
  41. 41. Gary Noel 12:16 am 07/10/2010

    Hi Deuron,

    Comets are inter-galactic, inter-stellar objects.

    Hi Radscal,

    I fully agree that life may have gone extinct and re-started many times over. But earth got impregnated when our solar system was near a life containing object during its long history.

    Please understand that our Milkyway is also revolving and moving in this un-imaginable vast space. We are not alone and this so called universe is teeming with life.

    I really get surprised at the ignorance of so many persons who can’t understand that a SUPREME BEING is powering the whole universe. If scientist can call some thing they cannot understand DARK ENERGY/Matter then why we cannot use the word supreme being (for the ignorant).

    Please tell me what is “Gravitational force”…..who is powering it. All the forces as per string theory, where there are originating from, there has to be creator or not?

    It is matter of regret that we humans question the existence of the Supreme Being who created us, how unfortunate?

    A time will come when humanoids created by us will start questing its creators (humans), then also I am pretty sure that our ego will not comprehend the existence of a Supreme Being.

    There is much more to it then meets the eye.

    Link to this
  42. 42. radscal 9:16 am 07/10/2010

    The evidence that all life on earth shares a common ancestor does not necessarily mean that life only arose once. There could have been many instances of life forming, but all except the progeny of one have gone extinct. In fact, it’s quite possible that life is forming even now, but is quickly eradicated by living things already here (and with a nearly 4 billion year head-start in evolving systems to survive).

    Link to this
  43. 43. gelunelu 3:58 pm 07/14/2010

    Revolve or spin, is the samething!

    Link to this
  44. 44. gelunelu 4:51 pm 07/14/2010

    However; my conclusions is that, as we travel through time and space it will transforms everything into more dimensions.
    Everything in this beautiful Universe was created universally for the benefits and appreciation of the one who can perceive with their senses, including the basic, Fire. Water, Air, Earth. For if not! Why would they turn themselves, in-to beautiful work of art?
    There are Billions of secrets and unknown events, taking place around us, where we are not aware off, and probably in a Billions year from now we may be able to understand those facts.
    Therefore, have we Humans forgotten that we are build only to receive and transmit at a specific cycles? (In addition, everything else is out of our limited territory)
    We can go on and on, disputing, analyzing and presuming, but most important of all it is, enjoin and appreciation of this creations.
    Are we worthy of such unexplained, unexpected, extraordinary, and marvelous miracles (It appears just as if, something or someone expected our arrival here on this Planet?)
    In addition, if all this is possible in this four dimensional Universe, what are the possibility and the looks of a 10-12 dimensional Universe? What beautiful world are we to expect? In addition, what aggregated miraculous existence, would there co-exist.
    Therefore; we all confuse religions and (“The Creation”) with the churches of today and the churches of the past!
    The all Mighty, the way I see it, (put you here with all your intelligent characteristics and allowed you to use them as you see fit) therefore you do not have to join any fraternity lodges or churches to come closer to God. You cannot join God. (God will join you)
    If all is right. (Not easy to understand, what I am trying to say is it?)

    Link to this
  45. 45. Andromeda 6:22 pm 07/14/2010

    There is abundant life in the Universe if one knows where to look for it. We should try to look for suitable planets around typeL Brown Dwarfs.

    Link to this
  46. 46. gelunelu 6:30 pm 07/22/2010

    Meek, In Greco-Latin, meek means small, In fact it means microscopic.

    Link to this
  47. 47. Skibabinz 8:05 pm 09/14/2010

    One question I’ve never found an answer to is this: Where did the energy and matter that the singularity which exploded into the Big Bang come from? Furthermore, since the question "What created that?" remains, does it not make sense that eventually you come down to something that everything in the Uni, or according to some Multiverse came from? Would this "thing" not have to be timeless, since it created time, immaterial since it created all matter and energy, and even supremely intelligent seeing as how finely tuned the universe is for life?

    Also, how do you explain morals simply evolving? According to evolution, it is the survival of the fittest. The fittest being physically strong, capable of adapting to ones surroundings. I would say intelligent, however there isnt an animal close enough to us in terms of intelligence which I find funny seeing as we’ve had billions of years to evolve, yet its ONLY us…just so happen. My point with the survival of the fittest is basically, if we are to just adapt to our surroundings, and survive as a species, how does that even remotely involve evolving morality.
    Also, if life were discovered elsewhere, I for one would embrace it.

    Link to this
  48. 48. Biosyn12 6:56 pm 09/28/2010

    Bio-Synthesis Inc. is a leading life science products company which deals in Peptides Function, <a href="http://www.biosyn.com/">Peptide</a>, Peptide Therapeutics, Peptide and Protein.

    Link to this
  49. 49. Rhymeswithbam 5:42 pm 12/7/2010

    I’m still questioning where the actual LIFE came from. I understand chemicals reacted, etc, etc. But I don’t understand how the actual LIFE of those reactions occurred. Do we still not know this yet..?

    Link to this
  50. 50. NathanProphet 7:29 pm 01/20/2011

    No, nothing mystical is necessary or implied. There could have been a single instance of life started, a few, or many at different places on earth. Some of these inevitably went extinct quickly; others persisted. Perhaps one or a few survived to kick start evolution.

    Link to this

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