Thursday, February 4, 2010

Life didn't origin from soup

Over at they've got a really interesting article about a new theory that says that life didn't originate from a sort of "primordial soup", commonly believed for about 80 years, at all. Back in 1929, J.B.S Haldane published his theory that UV light would affect substances like ammonia and methane to become the first organic matters. (Also interesting that probably nobody knows of this Haldane guy although most people know of the "primordial-soup" theory). A problem with this theory, which has been long known, is that UV light isn't enough of an energy source to kick-start life, or more technically put - UV light doesn't make things react with eachother.

This new theory instead looks at chemical gradients used by sea vents all over the world today (and always). They're all very similar to how any living organism works today, with proton gradients as the energy source. Although this might seems really complicated we've all (or at least most of us I'd guess) talked about it in school. Proton gradient is the variance of electrical potential and concentration across a membrane, like a cell (sodium and potassium in all living cells if I remember correctly).

If I understood it correctly, the difference between UV light and these chemical gradients is that UV light is electromagnetical and the chemical gradients electrochemical, the latter being an energy force more like the ones currently at work in a living body. Maybe the first processes of life were "simply" a variance on the sea vent gradients, one that didn't need the closeness to a geochemically created force to sustain it's own gradient.

The other day I had a discussion with Love about life and death (not one of them deep discussions, but more scientifically). I think it started about something like death being the end of a chain of "energy force", and in a sense continued if the person has given birth (sorry guys). We humans still don't know how to create this "energy force", or "life force" as some would call it, ourselves. As far as I know we haven't been able to synthetically create a cell from which there has grown a living being. We also don't know how to repair and /or restart a dead cell, which would be a means to bring dead people back to life. I said that most people die because the body can't sustain itself any longer, and when it dies the brain goes out of oxygen anyway and is destroyed. But if you could get the cells to start up again (and repair the damaged ones), death wouldn't be much of a problem. Like I said, death is basically just a part of a chain of energy movement.

This discussion lead me to ask how this "energy force" got started in the first place. And questions like that are part of what religion is all about. But now it seems we've got another (or better) scientific theory about it. Really interesting!

The article is here --> New research rejects 80-year theory of 'primordial soup' as the origin of life <-- in case you want to read it (and make sure I understood it correctly ;))

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