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The Origins of Life

Life on Earth began over 3 billion years ago, evolving from basic of microbes into a wide array of complexity over time. How life began still remains one of the most mysterious questions. There are several hypotheses, but none of them is certain.

According to one hypothesis, lightning may have provided the spark, allowing life to begin. Electric sparks are able to generate sugars and amino acids from an atmosphere full of methane, water, ammonia, and hydrogen. Lightning could have stimulated the creation of the key building blocks of life. Larger and more complex molecules could have formed over millions of years.

According to another hypothesis, the first molecules might have met on clay. These surfaces might have concentrated organic compounds together and organized them into patterns. DNA stores information the way molecules should be arranged. DNA’s genetic sequences are instructions on how amino acids should be arranged in proteins. The hypothesis suggests that mineral crystals in clay could have helped arrange organic molecules into patterns. Over some time, organic molecules organized themselves.

The deep-sea vent theory is another interesting idea on how life began. Life may have begun, thanks to submarine hydrothermal vents that are able to spew key hydrogen-rich molecules. These molecules could have concentrated together on its rocky nooks. That could have initiated critical reactions of mineral catalysts. Even today, these vents sustain vibrant ecosystems, thanks to rich in thermal and chemical energy.

Another hypothesis suggests that 3 billion years ago the sun was less luminous and the Earth might have been covered by the oceans with a layer of ice of about hundreds of feet thick. This layer of ice might have served as protection for fragile organic compounds in the water so that destruction from cosmic impacts and ultraviolet light could not reach them. Thanks to cold, probably, these molecules could have survived longer, which allowed key reactions to happen.

One of the hypotheses involves RNA. Proteins are needed for DNA to form, and proteins also needed for DNA to form, so how both could have formed without each other? RNA is might be the answer. It serves as an enzyme like proteins and can store information like DNA. RNA might have helped create both proteins and DNA. Because DNA and proteins are more efficient, they succeeded this "RNA world." RNA still exists and conducts several functions in organisms, but the question how RNA got there initially still remains.

Life on Earth began over 3 billion years ago, evolving from basic of microbes into a wide array of complexity over time. How life began still remains one of the most mysterious questions. There are several hypotheses, but none of them is certain.

According to one hypothesis, lightning may have provided the spark, allowing life to begin.

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Assignment ID
100001895
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CREATED ON
September 25, 2016
COMPLETED ON
September 26, 2016
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$34
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