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Did Clay Trigger 1st Life on Earth?


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In the early 1990s, Jack Szostak of Harvard Medical School began investigating the molecular origins of life in order to understand how chemicals combined to form the first living organisms on primitive Earth. Inspired by Tom Cech and Sidney Altman’s discovery that RNA could catalyze chemical reactions inside cells (which later earned them a Nobel Prize), Szostak began to explore RNA’s ability to catalyze its own reproduction.

Building on earlier work by other scientists, Szostak and colleagues began experimenting with a clay mixture common on early Earth called montmorillonite, which was found to catalyze the chemical reactions needed to make RNA.

So, did life originally spring from clay as some creation myths assert? 

Not necessarily, but it does provide a possible mechanism for explaining how life initially arose from nonliving molecules. Szostak's team at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital showed that the presence of clay aids naturally occurring reactions that result in the formation of fatty sacks called vesicles, similar to what scientists expect the first living cells to have looked like. Further, the clay helps RNA form. The RNA can stick to the clay and move with it into the vesicles. This provides a method for RNA's critical genetic information to move inside a primitive cell.

"It's exciting because we know that a particular clay mineral helps with the assembly of RNA," Szostak said. "There certainly would have been lots of environments on early Earth with clay minerals. It's something that forms relatively easily as rocks weather."

The researchers also found that the clay expedited the process by which fatty acids form vesicles that could serve as cell membranes. When RNA and fatty acids were mixed with the montmorillonite, the clay seemed to help transport the RNA inside the vesicles, forming a cell-like structure. Szostak and his team surmised that a similar process could possibly have led to the creation of the first cell.

Posted by Casey Kazan.

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Comments

MYTHO-COSMOLOGY AND THE CREATION MYTHS.

Quote: "So, did life originally spring from clay as some creation myths assert?", unquote.

People who just take the Myths as Cock-and-Bull-stories are missing A LOT!

Most stories of Creation tells of the 4 basically elements of Fire, Water, Air and Soil/Dust.

"Let there be Light" = Fire = A cosmic explosion that starts of and accelerates the water = hydrogen and dust = molecular clouds and melt it all together in a swirling mass that becomes maybe a galaxy from where all kind of Life can be created – as in our own Milky Way galaxy.

Via this mythological telling, our ancestors did not just meant the 4 elements working on the Earth - simply because the Earth not even was created "in the beginning"

They talked of the Cosmic 4 elements as the basics for ALL creation "up there as well as down here".

See more here:
http://www.native-science.net
and:
http://www.cosmology-unified.net

- The posted Power Point Introduction gives a brief idea of the Mytho-Cosmological telling.

Ivar Nielsen
Natural Philosopher

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@ Ivar Nielsen
@ Natural Philosopher

Maybe, just maybe, the earth is supported by a giant turtle. And the turtle is supported by giant columns. And the columns are supported by a giant rabbit. And the... hmmm, I think I got my order wrong. :(

I wish there was a net-wide "ignore" button for science threads. You could push it and then all sorts of silliness would never end up on your screen.

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