Latest Abiogenesis Stories

2009-02-16 08:11:21

Researchers in the field of synthetic biology are still a long way from being able to assemble living cells from scratch in the laboratory. But according to biochemist David Deamer of the University of California, Santa Cruz, their efforts are yielding clues to the mystery of how life began on Earth. Deamer has been investigating the origin of life for more than 20 years, focusing on the molecular self-assembly processes that led to the first "protocells" nearly 4 billion years ago. At the...

2009-01-09 15:41:14

Now, a pair of Scripps Research Institute scientists has taken a significant step toward answering that question. The scientists have synthesized for the first time RNA enzymes that can replicate themselves without the help of any proteins or other cellular components, and the process proceeds indefinitely.The work was published on Thursday, January 8, 2008, in Science Express, the advanced, online edition of the journal Science.In the modern world, DNA carries the genetic sequence for...

2008-11-25 15:05:00

An organic sugar molecule that is directly linked to the origin of life has been located in a relatively hospitable part of the galaxy, scientists said. Glyceraldehyde is a molecule with significant ties to the origins of life, as it can react to form ribose, a key constituent of the nucleic acid RNA. "This is an important discovery as it is the first time glycolaldehyde, a basic sugar, has been detected towards a star-forming region where planets that could potentially harbor life may...

2008-10-17 13:30:00

The recent discovery of ageing vials of chemicals in a California lab contain surviving samples from the legendary experiments performed by chemist Stanley Miller in the 1950s. Many believe the samples provide evidence that life may have born violently, in erupting volcanoes in the midst of a thunderstorm. At age 22, Miller was studying for his PhD when he carried out his original, groundbreaking experiments (under his University of Chicago mentor, Harold Urey). By striking electric sparks in...

2008-10-16 18:00:07

U.S. space agency-funded research suggests lightning and gases from volcanic eruptions could have given rise to the first life on Earth. National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientists, along with researchers at Indiana University reached that conclusion after re-analyzing samples from a classic origin-of-life experiment conducted in the early 1950s. "Historically, you don't get many experiments that might be more famous than these; they re-defined our thoughts on the origin of...

2008-09-25 17:30:00

Tons, perhaps tens of tons, of carbon molecules in dust particles and meteorites fall on Earth daily. Meteorites are especially valuable to astronomers because they provide relatively big chunks of carbon molecules that are easily analyzed in the laboratory. In the past few years, researchers have noticed that most meteorite carbon are molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are very stable compounds and are survivors. PAHs are the most common carbon-rich compound in...

2008-09-03 00:00:07

By Simon Hadlington Scientists are cooking up primeval ooze in the laboratory to try to discover how life on Earth first developed. Simon Hadlington lifts the lid on their brew A time traveller steps out of his machine on to the early Earth, around three billion years ago. The rocky landscape looks like modern-day Mars, except that there are lakes of water. It is bleak and barren: to the naked eye, it is literally lifeless. But if our intrepid explorer dips a jam jar into a pool of...

2008-06-05 15:10:00

Study provides insight into how Earth's earliest cells may have interacted with their environmentA team of researchers at Harvard University have modeled in the laboratory a primitive cell, or protocell, that is capable of building, copying and containing DNA.Since there are no physical records of what the first primitive cells on Earth looked like, or how they grew and divided, the research team's protocell project offers a useful way to learn about how Earth's earliest cells may have...

2008-05-01 12:30:00

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Working with colleagues from NASA, a Florida State University researcher has published a paper that calls into question three decades of conventional wisdom regarding some of the physical processes that helped shape the Earth as we know it today. Munir Humayun, an associate professor in FSU's Department of Geological Sciences and a researcher at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, co-authored a paper, "Partitioning of Palladium at High Pressures and Temperatures...

2008-03-27 11:00:00

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in Bonn have detected for the first time a molecule closely related to an amino acid: amino acetonitrile. The organic molecule was found with a 30 meter radio telescope in Spain and two radio interferometers in France and Australia in the "Large Molecule Heimat", a giant gas cloud near the galactic centre in the constellation Sagittarius (Astronomy & Astrophysics, in press).The "Large Molecule Heimat" is a very dense,...

Word of the Day
  • A small crescent-shaped structure or marking, especially the white area at the base of a fingernail that resembles a half-moon.
This word is a diminutive of the Latin 'luna,' moon.