Life-forming water droplets could have jump-started early evolution


Reactions in tiny droplets of water may have given rise to some of the molecules essential for the origin of life. These reactions, which require a lot of energy in large vats of liquids, are nearly spontaneous in small droplets, researchers report today (October 23) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The finding suggests that the building blocks of life, including DNA, RNA, and materials used in cell walls and energy storage, may have been generated in mists and sea sprays on early Earth.

[Researcher Richard] Zare and colleagues wanted to see if sea spray might have played a role in the reactions that generated prebiotic material, so they used nitrogen gas to generate a fine mist out of a solution of sugar, an RNA base called uracil, and phosphoric acid. After about 300 milliseconds, the team sniffed out the resulting compounds in the mist using a mass spectrometer, and found they included sugar phosphates and uridine—a component of RNA made up of uracil plus a simple sugar.

The initial compounds had undergone phosphorylation reactions, the team realized—a significant finding because phosphorylation is central to all metabolism in life today.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Building Blocks of Life May Have Formed in Water Droplets

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend