Latest Abiogenesis Stories

2008-03-13 11:20:00

Amino acids that are the building blocks of life have been found in their highest ever concentration in two ancient meteorites which crashed to Earth millions of years ago, scientists claim today.Scientists believe their research, published online in the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science, provides fresh insights into the origins of life on Earth.Amino acids form the basis of proteins and enzymes, which are the building blocks of all biological life. They have been found in ancient...

2008-02-29 11:55:00

An important discovery has been made with respect to the mystery of "handedness" in biomolecules. Researchers led by Sandra Pizzarello, a research professor at Arizona State University, found that some of the possible abiotic precursors to the origin of life on Earth have been shown to carry "handedness" in a larger number than previously thought. The work is being published in this week's Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The paper is titled,...

2008-01-31 14:30:00

Hydrocarbons "“ molecules critical to life "“ are being generated by the simple interaction of seawater with the rocks under the Lost City hydrothermal vent field in the mid-Atlantic Ocean. Being able to produce building blocks of life makes Lost City-like vents even stronger contenders as places where life might have originated on Earth, according to Giora Proskurowski and Deborah Kelley, two authors of a paper in the Feb. 1 Science. Researchers have ruled out carbon from the...

2007-12-23 09:28:54

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) may have played a key role in the climate and geochemistry of early Mars, geoscientists at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) suggest in the Dec. 21 issue of the journal Science. Their hypothesis may resolve longstanding questions about evidence that the climate of the Red Planet was once much warmer than it is today. The Science paper's authors are Itay Halevy, a Ph.D. candidate in Harvard's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences;...

2007-12-07 11:41:07

Santa Barbara, Calif. -- Life may have begun in the protected spaces inside of layers of the mineral mica, in ancient oceans, according to a new hypothesis. The hypothesis was developed by Helen Hansma, a research scientist with the University of California, Santa Barbara and a program director at the National Science Foundation. Hansma presented her findings at a press briefing at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in Washington, D.C. The Hansma mica hypothesis...

2007-11-30 10:33:09

A team led by the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Milan has discovered some unexpected forms of liquid crystals of ultrashort DNA molecules immersed in water, providing a new scenario for a key step in the emergence of life on Earth. CU-Boulder physics Professor Noel Clark said the team found that surprisingly short segments of DNA, life's molecular carrier of genetic information, could assemble into several distinct liquid crystal phases that "self-orient" parallel...

2007-11-29 11:39:42

Scientists analysing data gathered by Cassini have confirmed the presence of heavy negative ions in the upper regions of Titan's atmosphere. These particles may act as building blocks for more complicated organic molecules. The discovery was completely unexpected because of the chemical composition of the atmosphere (which lacks oxygen - responsible for forming negative ions in the lower ionosphere of the Earth - and mainly consists of nitrogen and methane). The observation has now been...

2007-09-04 14:25:00

Starved. Stomped. Radiated. Poisoned. It's all in a day's work for the common household cockroach. The abuse these creatures can withstand is amazing. But astronomers have found something even tougher"”"polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons," says Achim Tappe of the Harvard Center for Astrophysics. "They can survive a supernova." Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs for short) are ring-shaped molecules made of carbon and hydrogen. They're about as well loved as roaches: PAHs are a...

2007-08-19 11:00:00

Researchers at Cardiff University believe that recent probes inside comets show it is overwhelmingly likely that life began in space. Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe and colleagues at the University's Centre for Astrobiology have long argued the case for panspermia - the theory that life began inside comets and then spread to habitable planets across the galaxy. It is a controversial topic, but highly relevant for astrobiologists trying to understand the origin of life and potential for...

2007-06-13 14:35:00

Astronomers suspect the early Earth was a very harsh place. Temperatures were extreme, and the planet was constantly bombarded by cosmic debris. Many scientists believe that life's starting materials, or building blocks, must have been very resilient to have survived this tumultuous environment. Now, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has learned, for the first time, that organic molecules believed to be among life's building blocks, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), can survive...

Word of the Day
  • In music, a work for a keyboard-instrument, like the pianoforte or organ, originally intended to utilize and display varieties of touch: but the term has been extended so as to include many irregular works, similar to the prelude, the fantasia, and the improvisation.
This word is Italian in origin, coming from the feminine past participle of 'toccare,' to touch.