New Study Supports Darwin's Theory of the Origin of Life
Research supports the theory that fallen meteorites in warm water on the Earth's surface have given the essential elements necessary for the birth of life. This theory rests on "comprehensive research and calculations in the field of astrophysics, geology, chemistry, biology," says a publication in Canadian University McMaster in PNAS.
The potential for life in these "small warm lakes" was highlighted by the British biologist Charles Darwin, the father of the evolution theory, in a letter of 1871. "Only if we could create conditions in a little warm pond in the presence of all kinds salts of ammonia and phosphoric acid, light, heat, electricity, etc. to chemically make a protein compound ready to undergo more complex changes, "Darwin writes. Since then, scientists have "weighed" this hypothesis against the occurrence of Earth's life in hydrothermal chimneys at the bottom of the oceans.
The study suggests that the first hypothesis is more likely because it requires a dry and wet cycle to allow for the binding of molecular blocks based on RNAs. These RNA molecules represent the first genetic code of the ribonucleic acid molecule, says the study. "To understand the origin of life, we need to understand the Earth billions of years ago," says Thomas Hedding of the Max Planck Astronomy Institute.
"As our study shows, astronomy has provided a key part of the answer. The way our solar system has formed has a direct impact on the origin of life on Earth, he says. Between 3.7 and 4.5 billion years ago, our planet was "bombarded" by meteorites. Its atmosphere has been dominated by volcanic gases, and the soil has been little since the continents have risen from the bottom of the world's ocean, "the study said.
At some point, the necessary constituents to form RNA polymers have reached sufficient concentrations in the warm water basins and are interconnected and the water level has fluctuated depending on rainfall, evaporation and leakage. These primitive forms have evolved to get the DNA that, according to Ralph Pudritz of the Institute of Origins at McMaster University, is too complex to be the first element of life that has emerged. "It must have started with something else and it's RNA," he stresses.
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