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Birthplace of life may have been clay


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#1 DocM

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 07:46

Kinda sounds familiar -

http://www.upi.com/S.../#ixzz2jwSr6Yxn

Clay may have been the birthplace of life on Earth, suggests new study

Researchers make accidental discovery while searching for cheap drug production method.

(UPI) -- Life on earth may have originated in clay, which provided a safe space for the complex biochemical processes that made life possible on our planet.

Biological engineers at Cornell University found that in simulated ancient seawater, clay forms a hydrogel -- a mass of small spaces capable of soaking up liquids.

It is in the protection of these spaces that simple chemicals carried out complex reactions to form proteins, DNA and eventually life-sustaining functions.

"We propose that in early geological history clay hydrogel provided a confinement function for biomolecules and biochemical reactions," said Dan Luo, professor of biological and environmental engineering at Cornell.

While researching cheaper drug production methods, the group used synthetic hydrogels filled with DNA and provided the necessary machinery for the reactions to occur.

But synthetic hydrogels are expensive and as the group looked for a cheaper alternative, postdoctoral researcher Dayong Yang noticed that clay naturally formed a hydrogel.

But why consider clay?

"It's dirt cheap," said Luo. And it turned out, unexpectedly, that using clay enhanced protein production.

The researchers now believe they had discovered the answer to a long-standing question -- How did biomolecules evolve? Geological history has shown that clay appeared just as biomolecules began to form into cell-like structures. The geological events conveniently matched biological events.

While it is unclear how these processes evolved, the group’s work is now focused on understanding why a clay hydrogel works so well.




#2 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 08:36

... Oh god... :p  The theists are gonna be all over this one like fleas on a dog...



#3 Soldiers33

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 08:48

what a bunch of idiots. Next they will say life started from dinasour sh*t.



#4 Axel

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 08:51

what a bunch of idiots. Next they will say life started from dinasour sh*t.

 

You're a scientist I take it?  Because I certainly don't feel qualified to call these guys "idiots".



#5 arachnoid

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 10:30

So as I read it Clay acts like a micro-porous sponge enabling chemical reactions to take place inside those pours.So in essence anything with small porouses could provide a stable enough ecosystem to assist in the evolution of life ergo the transfer of life from one planet to another inside a meteorite,all that would be required to evolve would be for them to adapt to the specific enviroment of the planet they have landed on.



#6 Nick H.

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 10:37

what a bunch of idiots. Next they will say life started from dinasour sh*t.

:blink:

This is the second time that your response has baffled me. I can't tell if you're being serious or not...

#7 OP DocM

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 10:54

So as I read it Clay acts like a micro-porous sponge enabling chemical reactions to take place inside those pours.So in essence anything with small porouses could provide a stable enough ecosystem to assist in the evolution of life ergo the transfer of life from one planet to another inside a meteorite,all that would be required to evolve would be for them to adapt to the specific enviroment of the planet they have landed on.


Pretty much. Similar micro-environments may have formed in microspheres created by drying solutions containing amino acids. In both cases they could act as "cell membranes" before cell membranes developed.

#8 Crisp

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 13:38

I'm sure anywhere that's wet and moise could have been the birthday place of DNA.

 

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