Origin of Life: by Chance or by Design? Chris Macosko Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science University of Minnesota Biology G.B.Johnson and R.H.Raven, 1996 Biology Biggs et. al. Glencoe Pub. 2004. Chap 14.2 Heat Sunlight Electrical energy
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Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
University of Minnesota
Proteins and nucleic acids
Biochemistry D. Voet & J.G. Voet Wiley 2004
"We have obtained some positive results," said Pei Chunchuan, chief scientist at the Qinghai Station of the Purple Mountain Observatory (PMO) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the top research body for natural sciences in the country.
The researchers have detected some minor organic molecular lines, which could indicate that life might exist in interstellar space.
Pei explained that if, for example, lines of organic molecules such as amino acids were found, the discovery could mean that stars carried some bigger organic molecules during their formation process. These organic molecules could directly evolve into life under suitable conditions," said Pei.
Peoples Daily (English) December 12, 2001
The Origin of Life and the Crystallization of Aspartic Acid in Water
Tu Lee* and Yu Kun Lin
Department of Chemical
and Materials Engineering,
National Central University,
Cryst. Growth & Design 2010
A crosscut of one of the 1.43 billion-year-old black smoker fossils of deep-sea microbes recovered from an exploratory mine in northern China. They provide more evidence that life began on the bottom of the ocean.
Timothy Kusky / Gondwana ResearchAugust 6, 2007
Deep-sea discovery reinforces origin of life
Chemistry graduate student at University of Chicago
Spontaneous Origin of Life
Research into 1970’s supportive
Oparin, Haldane, 1930’s
Viking 1 Lander July 20, 1976.
Primary objectives of the Viking missions
- obtain high-resolution images of the Martian surface,
- characterize the atmosphere and surface
- search for evidence of life on Mars.
“…recent advances…have thrown serious doubts on the anoxic [oxygen free] model…”
—H. Clemmey and N. Badham
“Oxygen in the precambrian atmosphere: An evaluation of the geological evidence.”
Geology 10(3), 145 (March 1982).
“No geological or geochemical evidence collected in the last 30 years favors a strongly reducing primitive atmosphere…Only the success of the laboratory experiments recommends it.”
“Origin of life: new ingredients suggested.”
Science 210(4465), 42 (October 3, 1980).
N = 100-300
How many ways to arrange 100 amino acids,
5 of each type?
W= # arrangements =
10115 different peptides <105 useful for life
age of Earth?
fastest chemical reaction
Can Random Reactions Produce a Protein?
How long will it take to create a particular polypeptide?
10115 possible structures
Department of Biomedical Engineering
School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Ithaca, NY 14853
September 9, 2010
External Medium (31 chemicals)
Proposed Reaction Rates
Si = species i
S = all species
p = all parameters
Ej = enzyme j
408 Chemical Species
1,176 Reaction Parameters
and still could not survive in nature
temperature, no cell wall
must feed 31 chemicals
“The largest stumbling block in bridging the gap between nonliving and living still remains. All living cells are controlled by information stored in DNA, which is transcribed in RNA and then made into protein.
This is a very complicated system, and each of these three molecules requires the other two--either to put it together or to help it work. DNA, for example, carries information but cannot put that information to use, or even copy itself without the help of RNA and protein.”
Kenneth R. Miller and Joseph Levine, Biology: The Living Science (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall), 1998, p.406-407.
Theory of Panspermia –
Hoyle and Wickramasinghe 1980’s
May 21, 2007
…But despite the brilliant beginning, neither he nor others were able to take the next step, that of providing a plausible mechanism by which these chemicals could have been assembled into living cells or the macromolecules — DNA and proteins — on which cells depend. NY Times
the chemical origin of life is a lot more difficult than we first imaged
National Geographic 1998
The world looks more beautiful to a scientist.
Science teaches humility.
This comes from an understanding
of what we do not know.
Belief in a Creator has energized the greatest scientists.
DNA to proteins http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dMlde9akBk