Navigation Links
New evidence that comets could have seeded life on Earth
Date:3/5/2013

It's among the most ancient of questions: What are the origins of life on Earth?

A new experiment simulating conditions in deep space reveals that the complex building blocks of life could have been created on icy interplanetary dust and then carried to Earth, jump-starting life.

Chemists from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Hawaii, Manoa, showed that conditions in space are capable of creating complex dipeptides linked pairs of amino acids that are essential building blocks shared by all living things. The discovery opens the door to the possibility that these molecules were brought to Earth aboard a comet or possibly meteorites, catalyzing the formation of proteins (polypeptides), enzymes and even more complex molecules, such as sugars, that are necessary for life.

"It is fascinating to consider that the most basic biochemical building blocks that led to life on Earth may well have had an extraterrestrial origin," said UC Berkeley chemist Richard Mathies, coauthor of a paper published online last week and scheduled for the March 10 print issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

While scientists have discovered basic organic molecules, such as amino acids, in numerous meteorites that have fallen to Earth, they have been unable to find the more complex molecular structures that are prerequisites for our planet's biology. As a result, scientists have always assumed that the really complicated chemistry of life must have originated in Earth's early oceans.

In an ultra-high vacuum chamber chilled to 10 degrees above absolute zero (10 Kelvin), Seol Kim and Ralf Kaiser of the Hawaiian team simulated an icy snowball in space including carbon dioxide, ammonia and various hydrocarbons such as methane, ethane and propane. When zapped with high-energy electrons to simulate the cosmic rays in space, the chemicals reacted to form complex, organic compounds, specifically dipeptides, essential to life.

At UC Berkeley, Mathies and Amanda Stockton then analyzed the organic residues through the Mars Organic Analyzer, an instrument that Mathies designed for ultrasensitive detection and identification of small organic molecules in the solar system. The analysis revealed the presence of complex molecules nine different amino acids and at least two dipeptides capable of catalyzing biological evolution on earth.


'/>"/>

Contact: Robert Sanders
rsanders@berkeley.edu
510-643-6998
University of California - Berkeley
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Increasing evidence links high glycemic index foods and dairy products to acne
2. Animal magnetism: First evidence that magnetism helps salmon find home
3. No clear evidence more gluten in new wheat is responsible for increase in celiac disease
4. New evidence highlights threat to Caribbean coral reef growth
5. Evidence mounts for role of mutated genes in development of schizophrenia
6. Best evidence yet that dinosaurs used feathers for courtship
7. Evidence contradicts idea that starvation caused saber-tooth cat extinction
8. Chinese scientists discover evidence of giant pandas population history and local adaptation
9. First evidence of fish sensing geomagnetic fields from a Czech Christmas market
10. First evidence of ocean acidification affecting live marine creatures in the Southern Ocean
11. New evidence of dinosaurs role in the evolution of bird flight
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/24/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Biometric Vehicle Access System ... over the next decade to reach approximately $1,580 million by 2025. ... forecasts for all the given segments on global as well as ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 2017 Vigilant Solutions , a vehicle ... agencies, announced today the appointment of retired FBI special ... safety business development. Mr. Sheridan brings more ... a focus on the aviation transportation sector, to his ... Mr. Sheridan served as the Aviation Liaison Agent Coordinator ...
(Date:3/9/2017)... , Australia , March 9, ... study data at the prestigious World Lung Imaging Workshop ... Andreas Fouras , was invited to deliver the ... pulmonary medicine. This globally recognised event brings together leaders ... share the latest developments in lung imaging. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)...  Agriculture technology company Cool Planet has closed on ... to commercialize its Cool Terra and Cool Fauna Engineered ... that are simultaneously profitable as well as sustainable and ... months. This latest round of funding was led by ... The company,s primary product, Cool Terra, can improve ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... Advanced Polymer Monitoring Technologies ... Dr. Sigmund “Sig” Floyd as Vice President ? Global Business Development. Dr. Floyd ... , “Dr. Floyd’s career has spanned 30 years in the chemicals and equipment ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... Worcester, Mass. (PRWEB) , ... March 22, 2017 ... ... to scale up human tissue regeneration from small lab samples to full-size tissues, ... injuries: how to establish a vascular system that delivers blood deep into the ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 2017  UBM and the Massachusetts Medical Device ... partnership and the third annual Massachusetts Medtech Week. Massachusetts ... st Annual MassMEDIC Conference held in conjunction ... 2017. MassMEDIC will feature a ... and CEO, Scott Whitaker , at its ...
Breaking Biology Technology: