Navigation Links
Model sheds light on the chemistry that sparked the origin of life
Date:11/26/2012

Durham, NC The question of how life began on a molecular level has been a longstanding problem in science. However, recent mathematical research sheds light on a possible mechanism by which life may have gotten a foothold in the chemical soup that existed on the early Earth.

Researchers have proposed several competing theories for how life on Earth could have gotten its start, even before the first genes or living cells came to be. Despite differences between various proposed scenarios, one theme they all have in common is a network of molecules that have the ability to work together to jumpstart and speed up their own replication two necessary ingredients for life. However, many researchers find it hard to imagine how such a molecular network could have formed spontaneously with no precursors from the chemical environment of early Earth.

"Some say it's equivalent to a tornado blowing through a junkyard and assembling the random pieces of metal and plastic into a Boeing 747," said co-author Wim Hordijk, a visiting scientist at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, North Carolina, and a participant in an astrobiology meeting held there last year.

In a previous study published in 2004, Hordijk and colleague Mike Steel of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand used a mathematical model of simple chemical reactions to show that such networks might form more easily than many researchers thought. Indeed, biochemists have recently created such networks in the lab.

In a new study published this year, Hordijk, Steel, and colleague Stuart Kauffman of the University of Vermont analyzed the structure of the networks in their mathematical models and found a plausible mechanism by which they could have evolved to produce the building blocks of life we know today, such as cell membranes or nucleic acids.

"It turns out that if you look at the structure of the networks of molecules [in our models], very often they're composed of smaller subsets of molecules with the same self-perpetuating capabilities," Hordijk explained.

By combining, splitting, and recombining to form new types of networks from their own subunits, the models indicate that these subsets of molecules could give rise to increasingly large and complex networks of chemical reactions, and, presumably, life.

"These results could have major consequences for how we think life may have originated from pure chemistry," Hordijk writes.

The study will appear in the December 2012 print issue of the journal Acta Biotheoretica.


'/>"/>

Contact: Robin Ann Smith
rsmith@nescent.org
919-668-4544
National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent)
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New model reveals how huddling penguins share heat fairly
2. Neurons made from stem cells drive brain activity after transplantation in laboratory model
3. New health-economic model shows benefits of boosting dietary calcium intake
4. Cells from skin create model of blinding eye disease
5. Reducing radiation: Heart Institute model shows hope for new standards worldwide
6. Oxidative stress and altered gene expression occurs in a metabolic liver disease model
7. National Heart Centre Singapore develops worlds first human heart cell model
8. New model could help fill data gap in predicting historical air pollution exposure
9. Research finds heart remodeling rapidly follows cardiac injury
10. Coral scientists use new model to find where corals are most likely to survive climate change
11. Early menopause: A genetic mouse model of human primary ovarian insufficiency
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/13/2017)... India , April 13, 2017 According to ... Proofing, Identity Authentication, Identity Analytics, Identity Administration, and Authorization), Service, Authentication Type, ... MarketsandMarkets™, the IAM Market is expected to grow from USD 14.30 Billion ... Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17.3%. ... MarketsandMarkets ...
(Date:4/6/2017)... , April 6, 2017 Forecasts ... ANPR, Document Readers, by End-Use (Transportation & Logistics, Government ... Oil, Gas & Fossil Generation Facility, Nuclear Power), Industrial, ... Other) Are you looking for a definitive ... ...
(Date:4/3/2017)... , April 3, 2017  Data ... precision engineering platform, detected a statistically significant ... product prior to treatment and objective response ... the potential to predict whether cancer patients ... to treatment, as well as to improve ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Singh Biotechnology today ... designation to SBT-100, its novel anti-STAT3 (Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3) ... able to cross the cell membrane and bind intracellular STAT3 and inhibit its ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... , ... October 10, 2017 , ... Dr. Bob Harman, ... his local San Diego Rotary Club. The event entitled “Stem Cells ... and had 300+ attendees. Dr. Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined by two human ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... of 13 prestigious awards honoring scientists who have made outstanding ... a scheduled symposium during Pittcon 2018, the world’s leading conference and exposition for ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... Arizona (PRWEB) , ... October 09, 2017 , ... ... Kindred, a four-tiered line of medical marijuana products targeting the needs of consumers ... and packaging of Kindred takes place in Phoenix, Arizona. , As operators of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: