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Latest Abiogenesis Stories

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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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2008-03-26 15:35:00

Could microbial life exist inside Enceladus, where no sunlight reaches, photosynthesis is impossible and no oxygen is available? To answer that question, we need look no farther than our own planet to find examples of the types of exotic ecosystems that could make life possible on Saturn's geyser moon. The answer appears to be, yes, it could be possible. It is this tantalizing potential that brings us back to Enceladus for further study. In recent years, life forms have been found on Earth...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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;...

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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...