Reconstructed ancient ocean reveals secrets about the origin of life

A reconstruction of Earth’s earliest ocean in the laboratory revealed the spontaneous occurrence of the chemical reactions used by modern cells to synthesize many of the crucial organic molecules of metabolism. Previously, it was assumed that these reactions were carried out in modern cells by metabolic enzymes, highly complex molecular machines that came into existence during the evolution of modern organisms.

Almost 4 billion years ago life on Earth began in iron-rich oceans that dominated the surface of the planet. An open question for scientists is when and how cellular metabolism, the network of chemical reactions necessary to produce nucleic acids, amino acids and lipids, the building blocks of life, appeared on the scene.

The observed chemical reactions occurred in the absence of enzymes but were made possible by the chemical molecules found in the Archean sea. Finding a series of reactions that resembles the “core of cellular metabolism” suggests that metabolism predates the origin of life. This implies that, at least initially, metabolism may not have been shaped by evolution but by molecules like RNA formed through the chemical conditions that prevailed in the earliest oceans.


3 thoughts on “Reconstructed ancient ocean reveals secrets about the origin of life

  1. This news story is devastating to our Creationist friends although they will most certainly deny the results of this “re-creation” of early oceans. I just laugh as the Bible literalists continue to paint themselves into an ever-shrinking corner.

    Sooner or later a study like this will prove how living matter arose from non-living materials and the national press will run the story on page one in 200 font. Lest my friend who wades knee-deep in Bible Belt sewage challenges the worthiness of my post, let me note the strong anti-science agenda of the fundamentalist community. Our Congress is replete with these science-denying boneheads who regularly withhold funding for important scientific research. Thus, my point is not necessarily about noting an achievement in this specific study, but that we must stand behind all scientific endeavors and fund these programs fully.

  2. Fund the programs fully….with what? Where’s the money? We are $16Trillion in debt… I don’t support knee jerk funding of “ALL(emphasis mine) scientific endeavors.” Talk about going broke, lol….

    1. Where is the money? The Pentagon, of course! Always tax dollars for war. Reminds me of another military giant 2 millennia ago. Do you recall their fate?

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