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     Origin of Life - No Soup

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orion

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I'm always looking for ideas regarding the origin of life.

Although not a new idea, these researchers argue that life arose from hydrothermal vents in the early earthly ocean floors.  They question the 'primordial soup' notion that has been around for awhile.

New Research Rejects 80-Year Theory of 'Primordial Soup' as the Origin of Life


"Textbooks have it that life arose from organic soup and that the first cells grew by fermenting these organics to generate energy in the form of ATP. We provide a new perspective on why that old and familiar view won't work at all," said team leader Dr Nick lane from University College London. "We present the alternative that life arose from gases (H2, CO2, N2, and H2S) and that the energy for first life came from harnessing geochemical gradients created by mother Earth at a special kind of deep-sea hydrothermal vent -- one that is riddled with tiny interconnected compartments or pores."


Hmmm, does this mean that life owes its beginnings to a large degree that the earth has a dynamically active crust - plate tectonics?  I would even guess, not being a geologist, that hydrothermal vents may have been more numerous on the early earth also.


The soup theory was proposed in 1929 when J.B.S Haldane published his influential essay on the origin of life in which he argued that UV radiation provided the energy to convert methane, ammonia and water into the first organic compounds in the oceans of the early earth. However critics of the soup theory point out that there is no sustained driving force to make anything react; and without an energy source, life as we know it can't exist.

In rejecting the soup theory the team turned to the Earth's chemistry to identify the energy source which could power the first primitive predecessors of living organisms: geochemical gradients across a honeycomb of microscopic natural caverns at hydrothermal vents. These catalytic cells generated lipids, proteins and nucleotides which may have given rise to the first true cells.

The team focused on ideas pioneered by geochemist Michael J. Russell, on alkaline deep sea vents, which produce chemical gradients very similar to those used by almost all living organisms today -- a gradient of protons over a membrane. Early organisms likely exploited these gradients through a process called chemiosmosis, in which the proton gradient is used to drive synthesis of the universal energy currency, ATP, or simpler equivalents. Later on cells evolved to generate their own proton gradient by way of electron transfer from a donor to an acceptor. The team argue that the first donor was hydrogen and the first acceptor was CO2.

"Modern living cells have inherited the same size of proton gradient, and, crucially, the same orientation -- positive outside and negative inside -- as the inorganic vesicles from which they arose" said co-author John Allen, a biochemist at Queen Mary, University of London.

"Thermodynamic constraints mean that chemiosmosis is strictly necessary for carbon and energy metabolism in all organisms that grow from simple chemical ingredients [autotrophy] today, and presumably the first free-living cells," said Lane. "Here we consider how the earliest cells might have harnessed a geochemically created force and then learned to make their own."

This was a vital transition, as chemiosmosis is the only mechanism by which organisms could escape from the vents. "The reason that all organisms are chemiosmotic today is simply that they inherited it from the very time and place that the first cells evolved -- and they could not have evolved without it," said Martin.

"Far from being too complex to have powered early life, it is nearly impossible to see how life could have begun without chemiosmosis," concluded Lane. "It is time to cast off the shackles of fermentation in some primordial soup as 'life without oxygen' -- an idea that dates back to a time before anybody in biology had any understanding of how ATP is made."



 


Posts: 1460 | Posted: 3:23 PM on February 3, 2010 | IP
Apoapsis

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Not so much doing away with the soup as moving where it was cooked.  Not really that groundbreaking, but I did download the original article for some reading in spare time.  I think people are finally getting all of the pieces needed for the puzzle, spaceborn chemicals plus a benign reactor like these guys have found.  The article supposedly explains chirality, that's what I was interested in.

The science writers really like to blow things out of proportion.


-------
Pogge:” This is the volume of a sphere with a 62 kilometer (about 39 miles) radius, which is considerably smaller than the 2,000 mile radius of the Earth.”
Wikipedia:” For Earth, the mean radius is 6,371.009 km(≈3,958.761 mi; ≈3,440.069 nmi).”
Wisp to Lester (on Pogge): Do you admit he was wrong about the basics?
Lester: No

 


Posts: 1747 | Posted: 4:59 PM on February 3, 2010 | IP
orion

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Apoapsis - yeah, I think you described it nicely.  The hydrothermal vent idea is not new.  And it's just locating the primordial soup to a specific location with an energy source available.

The hypothesis makes sense to me.
 


Posts: 1460 | Posted: 5:15 PM on February 3, 2010 | IP
derwood

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Quote from orion at 3:23 PM on February 3, 2010 :
I'm always looking for ideas regarding the origin of life.

Although not a new idea, these researchers argue that life arose from hydrothermal vents in the early earthly ocean floors.  They question the 'primordial soup' notion that has been around for awhile.

New Research Rejects 80-Year Theory of 'Primordial Soup' as the Origin of Life


"Textbooks have it that life arose from organic soup
...



WHICH textbooks are these, exactly?

I HATE it when hyperbolic claims like that are used to hype something.  It is basically just cretin-fodder.


-------
Lester:

"I said I have a doctorate and a university background in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, physics, chemistry, pathology etc. ..."
 


Posts: 1646 | Posted: 08:13 AM on February 4, 2010 | IP
Lester10

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It is basically just cretin-fodder.


I like that -there's good cretin fodder and bad cretin fodder but it's all the same to me.


-------
Richard Lewontin: “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism... no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door”
 


Posts: 1554 | Posted: 09:07 AM on February 4, 2010 | IP
JimIrvine

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Quote from Lester10 at 3:07 PM on February 4, 2010 :
It is basically just cretin-fodder.


I like that -there's good cretin fodder and bad cretin fodder but it's all the same to me.


Yup ... fodder


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Lester in logical fallacies
That’s IN MY HEAD –you know, kind of like a pneumonic helps people to remember;,

Lester in Naturalism
the reality is that medical doctors have no training in evolution

Lester in 'Scientists Assert:
Ancestors assumes evolution.
 


Posts: 320 | Posted: 09:14 AM on February 4, 2010 | IP
derwood

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Quote from Lester10 at 09:07 AM on February 4, 2010 :
It is basically just cretin-fodder.


I like that -there's good cretin fodder and bad cretin fodder but it's all the same to me.


Shame that you never considered learning about anything and instead rely on 'fodder' like decades old quotes ripped from their context...




-------
Lester:

"I said I have a doctorate and a university background in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, physics, chemistry, pathology etc. ..."
 


Posts: 1646 | Posted: 09:50 AM on February 4, 2010 | IP
orion

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Say... are you guys calling me a cretin!?  :0)


 


Posts: 1460 | Posted: 11:48 AM on February 4, 2010 | IP
orion

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Although the hypothesis of abiogenesis occurring at hydrothermal vents has been around for at least 30 years, this articles appears to be in regards to a new type of hydrothermal vent - the Lost City Hydrothermal Field - discovered about 10 years ago.

Earlier discovered hydrothermal vents (black smokers) are typically higly acidic and very hot (400 degrees C).  The Lost City hydrothermal vents, on the other hand, are alkaline and rich in reducing gases (hydrogen and methane), plus the temperatures do not exceed 90 degrees C.  So this makes these newer hydrothermal vents more likely candidates for origin of life investigators.

Additionally, the microbes found in the Lost City vents are methanogens - do not depend on photosynthesis, or photosynthetic byproducts.  Their synthesis of methane, which they release to the environment, mirrors the steps that methane is produced naturally in these vents.

There's an interesting article in the December 2009 issue of Scientific American on this subject.  
 


Posts: 1460 | Posted: 6:18 PM on February 4, 2010 | IP
wisp

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I think harnessing this type of energy looks easier than harnessing other kinds, like solar, from scratch...

I really like this hypothesis, but i'm perfectly aware that my opinion is as good as nothing, being as ignorant on these matters as i am.

Edit: Oh... A new type of hydrothermal vents?

Alkaline hydrothermal vents... Is that a lot better?



-------
Quote from Lester10 at 2:51 PM on September 21, 2010 in the thread
Scientists assert (by Lester):

Ha Ha. (...) I've told you people endlessly about my evidence but you don't want to show me yours - you just assert.
porkchop
Would we see a mammal by the water's edge "suddenly" start breathing underwater(w/camera effect of course)?
Contact me at youdebate.1wr@gishpuppy.com
 


Posts: 3037 | Posted: 3:47 PM on February 5, 2010 | IP
    
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