A Natural Start Of Life

2562 WordsApr 15, 201511 Pages
A natural start to life: Aristotle, a famous philosopher, believed in the notion of spontaneous generation, the idea that life could arise from inanimate objects. Louis Pasteur famously dispelled this theory, when he showed that organisms will only arise if the parental species is initially present in a closed system. However, this conclusion relates to the generation of new organisms from parental ones, not the origin of life itself. The first “organism” had no “parental” species, therefore the organism had to have originated from non-living matter. Stanley L. Miller kick-started the study of the origin of life with his famous 1953 “prebiotic soup” experiment in which he took a mixture of reduced gases – believed to represent the atmospheric conditions on primordial Earth – and reacted them together in a spark discharge apparatus. The results were surprising, with a mixture of biochemically relevant organic molecules spontaneously being formed, including amino acids – an essential building block of life. Miller’s results showed that organic molecules could be generated from inorganic ones, a finding that inspired the modern era of understanding the origin of life and challenged common perceptions. Now, in the dawn of the 20th century, there are two main theories that dominate the field, the “metabolism first” theory and the “RNA world” theory. The term “RNA world” was coined by in 1986 by, Walter Gilbert; however the idea of independent RNA life can be traced to Carl
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