MAR 18, 2015 9:30 AM PDT

Life came to Earth on a meteorite, say scientists

WRITTEN BY: Robert Woodard
How the very beginnings of life arrived on Earth has long been a mystery, but one scientist might have solved it
An article by Andrew Griffin, appearing in the 17 March issue of The Independent, tells the story:

Life on earth has long been a mystery, since the building blocks appear to have landed on the planet with no real explanation of how they got there. But a scientist has proposed one - those mysterious building blocks arrived here by crashing down with a meteorite.

Life must have begun with a genetic molecule, like DNA or RNA, that would be able to store the instructions needed to make proteins, which do the work of keeping life happening. But the cells that are around now can't make DNA without proteins. Each relies on the other, and scientists have been unable to tell which arrived first.

Similarly, none of those molecules can work without fatty lipids, which allow cells to store things. But enzymes need lipids to be able to create them.

Scientists have now proposed that all of the necessary compounds were around at the beginning of Earth, and may have come down from an icy comet. That comet could have splashed down on Earth, bringing the molecules and allowing them to join together and create life in pools on the Earth's surface.

The Earth was steadily being hit by comets for the first several hundred million years it was around, according to Science Mag.

The new research, published in Nature Chemistry, shows that the building blocks could be created using very simple chemicals. Those simple chemicals probably came to the Earth on those comets, Sutherland has proposed.

The chemicals, including hydrogen cyanide, were probably dispersed across the surface by those comets. The different building blocks would have been created separately, and then be washed into a pool together, according to Dave Deamer, a researcher on the origin of life who wasn't part of the research.

Source: independent.co.uk
About the Author
You May Also Like
AUG 20, 2020
Plants & Animals
Honoring World Mosquito Day
AUG 20, 2020
Honoring World Mosquito Day
August 20th, 2020 is World Mosquito Day. Why celebrate an animal dubbed as one of the “world’s deadliest&rdq ...
AUG 28, 2020
Plants & Animals
Will Traps Solve the Invasive Lionfish Problem?
AUG 28, 2020
Will Traps Solve the Invasive Lionfish Problem?
Extravagant and spiny lionfish were once highly sought after by home aquarium hobbyists. These venomous fish are native ...
SEP 15, 2020
Microbiology
If They Must, Methane-Eating Microbes Will Consume Ammonia
SEP 15, 2020
If They Must, Methane-Eating Microbes Will Consume Ammonia
There are many different kinds of microbes, and some can use unusual substances to survive. Methanotrophs, for example, ...
OCT 07, 2020
Plants & Animals
Tasmanian Devils Return to Mainland Australia
OCT 07, 2020
Tasmanian Devils Return to Mainland Australia
For the first time in about 3,000 years, Tasmanian devils have returned to mainland Australia. According to a report fro ...
OCT 22, 2020
Earth & The Environment
Legacy chemicals found in migratory birds
OCT 22, 2020
Legacy chemicals found in migratory birds
A study published in the journal Environment International has found long-forgotten chemicals, called legacy chemicals, ...
OCT 23, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The Ever-Evolving Battle to Fight Corrosion in Nuclear Reactors
OCT 23, 2020
The Ever-Evolving Battle to Fight Corrosion in Nuclear Reactors
Since its birth in the early 20th century, atomic research has brought mostly positive impacts to our lives. This week i ...
Loading Comments...