Origins of Life on Earth (and Maybe Elsewhere) Created in a Lab
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May 15, 2009

Origins of Life on Earth (and Maybe Elsewhere) Created in a Lab

Rna The origin of life has been a huge question since the subject got smart enough to ask it.  We've traced the origin of cells through DNA, realized that RNA is a realizable originator, traced the nucleotides that put that vast chemical together, and spent decades working out how those chemical combinations could have occurred.  [Unless you ignore enough scientists to form a nation and decide instead we were built by a bored voyeur.]  Now, an English scientist may have solved the critical conundrum of the first step.

In case we foxed you in the first paragraph, it's true that RNA is thought to be the real original repository of genetic information.  It's de-denoted buddy DNA might get all the press, but it's now thought that this stabler variant simply took over the records and filing duties when it turned up, leaving RNA to run around and get things done.  In the old days the single-stranded RNA did the lot.

Scientists know what had to come before RNA, a set of subunits called nucleotides which were easily assembled from pre-life parts in the vast chemical cocktail shaker that was early Earth - they just couldn't explain how these nucleotides first came together to form RNA.  Now, Dr Sutherland and colleagues of the University of Manchester have suggested a solution for the only jigsaw that ever mattered.  It took ten years.

They started with the same chemicals available on our prebiotic-era planet and started smashing them together until they got the RNA combination - and if a single lab can make it in a decade, you can bet an en entire world with millions of years made it eventually.  These reactions aren't based on cunning design by intelligent observers, simply on finding what's energetically possible - with vats the size of oceans, random chance will eventually ram every option together.  They kept combining until they worked out how we all came to be, and by their sheer existence they say "See, people, THIS is what you do with years of dedication.  Not a level 80 craftsman."

The key points turned out to be a novel half-sugar-half-base combination, a little ultraviolet light, and some cyano-acetlyne (which has been detected as far afield as Titan.)  This starting point is huge news in the "We're interested in life" community, providing a key clue in thousands of other literally vital problems.

(Meanwhile, the Texas school board just took a vote on the age of the Earth.)

By Luke McKinney.

Chemist Shows How RNA Can Be The Starting Point Of Life

Comments

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As a life long priest, I now am an athiest.

This is pretty poorly written. How about you explain it in more than a paragaph? A link to the science journal to give more detail? Something more than an excuse to make a light jab a theists? Come on man.

Mankind with all our advanced technology and dozens of years of study can only get as far as making a simple RNA molecule. But yet, these same people, believe chance and time are much smarter. This only reaffirms the belief the life was CREATED by a Supreme Being and instead of "time and chance".

@Shawn Patrick

Oh yes, our dozens of years of study. The fact that we couldn't figure it out in tens of years is not really evidence of intelligent creation. Given the current pace of scientific advancement, it is only a matter of time.

Organic Chemistry has only been around since the early nineteenth century, and honestly, what's 200 years in the face of billions?

Wait, is this a news story or an opinion piece on how God can't possibly exist? Oh, THERE's the link to the ACTUAL news article. Thanks for including that, dickwad.

Dr. Sutherland’s proposal has not convinced everyone. Dr. Robert Shapiro, a chemist at New York University, said the recipe “definitely does not meet my criteria for a plausible pathway to the RNA world.” He said that cyano-acetylene, one of Dr. Sutherland’s assumed starting materials, is quickly destroyed by other chemicals and its appearance in pure form on the early earth “could be considered a fantasy.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/14/science/14rna.html?ref=science

check http://yourtvonline.com

I think creationists are going to really throw down a gauntlet towards this, let's just say they have a vested interest for this to be wrong.

Lol and who says a higher being didn't put all the building blocks for RNA together on one planet? It seems like the writer is just assuming that a higher being made it impossible for us mortals to recreate something like that. who said we couldn't do it too?

-_- dude i hate people that get all sensative when their religion is proved wrong.

Is this article really supposed to convince me that RNA could have formed spontaneously. It gives no where near enough evidence about the chemicals and processes involved for the reader to even know if the experiment was legitimate or simply a scenario created to give the result the scientists wanted.

Face it. In the way you percieve "him", God only exists in your mind, just like every single other thing in your life.

In the way YOU yourself percieve them, things only exist in the mind.

I think creationists are going to really throw down a gauntlet towards this, let's just say they have a vested interest for this to be wrong...

Sorry to spoil the fun for any atheists with the same dogmatic attachment to the non-existence of a deity as the most fervent cult disciple has in reverse. It's still tree-gazing. When you pan back to the larger view of the forest, you run smack into the question of, how the hell did such miraculous molecules, that can replicate themselves and organize themselves into ever more complex structures, come into being in the first place?

I was just wondering. It has been shown that there are viruses living in the upper reaches of our atmosphere as well as in meteoric remains. I think we could assume that there could well be some also found in many other reagons of space. Could it be possible that by some random chance long ago, some of tis virel material came to the earth by way of some of this material as the earth formed and was in some manner "useful" in the formation of more complicated life forms as we now know it?

Anything is possible Hdutton, I'm fond of the meteor inoculation theory... but even RNA from space had to evolve somewhere.

Sutherland and other scientists like him aren't attempting to disprove God. Science cannot possibly do that, God isn't a testable hypothesis.

Scientists live by Occam's razor, seeking the simplest reasonable explanation for observable phenomenon via experimentation. Sutherland is doing "proof of concept" work, which only proves that a process could theoretically work - not that it did for certain. No one can say for certain, which is why the majority of scientists I've met are agnostic - without blind faith or blind lack of faith.

God is in the statistical probabilities and algorithms of nature.

Lol and who says a higher being didn't put all the building blocks for RNA together on one planet? It seems like the writer is just assuming that a higher being made it impossible for us mortals to recreate something like that. who said we couldn't do it too?

This might help some research on the first human creation.
Think of a pair. A pregnant woman with a baby boy in her womb...


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