The mystery of the origin of ‘life’

Scientists have debated for years how life came to be on Earth. As a result, specialists have been divided into three groups: those who believed that RNA molecules were the first to form; the second group assures that in principle the phenomenon of metabolism developed and the third group are sure that primitive cell membranes arose in the first place.

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In November 2015, a team of researchers from the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, UK, led by Bravesh H. Patel, had discovered a network of reactions that would demonstrate that the three groups of scientists who are working on finding the molecular origins of life they are wrong, although, in a way, they are all right at the same time. The results of their study are published in ‘Nature Chemistry‘.

The British scientists suggested their own theory of the origin of life on Earth and showed how all the basic building blocks of life had been formed, which must  satisfy absolutely all participants in that debate.

Simulating the conditions of the primitive Earth, researchers have studied the reactions that produce sugars of two or three carbon atoms (fuel for the body), amino acids (building blocks of proteins), ribonucleotides (the basic elements of the RNA, which carry genetic information) and glycerol (the elemental unit of lipids).

The scientists summarized that the conclusion of this study is that all of these molecules could have formed on the Earth’s surface from just  hydrogen cyanide (HCN), hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and ultraviolet radiation from the Sun.

Patel’s team has determined that life arose when meteorites were bombarding early Earth, so cyanide could have been formed by the reaction of carbon from meteorites with nitrogen from the atmosphere.

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