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Thread: Scientists May Have Found How Life Began

  1. #21
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    Re: Scientists May Have Found How Life Began

    So much for people being made from ribs and mud.
    I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. - MLK

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    Norville Rogers
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    Re: Scientists May Have Found How Life Began

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackdog View Post
    Could you point out where they said this was done. As far as I could tell it said they think it is possible.

    I think they said it was plausible, not that they did it. Am I wrong?
    They performed the synthesis. The synthesis is not the important part, though, it's that they performed it in conditions that could plausibly have existed on early Earth, in a very simple process.

    **EDIT**
    I misspoke in my earlier post, I edited it for clarity
    Last edited by Kernel Sanders; 05-15-09 at 11:46 PM.

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    Re: Scientists May Have Found How Life Began

    Quote Originally Posted by Kernel Sanders View Post
    I suggest you read the Ars Technica article about this topic

    Source [Ars Technica | Origin of life: building an RNA world from simple chemicals]



    That's the background of the recent study. There are infinitely many ways in which DNA may have eventually come about, which are more or less likely to have happened in early Earth. RNA can be artificially generated relatively easily in a lab, but this doesn't explain how it happened naturally, because the conditions are optimized for production quality, production rate etc rather than for being a good model of a mud puddle. This study demonstrated that RNA can be generated under realistic conditions, which strengthens the argument that RNA likely arose from simpler organic molecules, and more complex DNA molecules arose from RNA molecules, which this team demonstrated could have arisen in nature.
    So I was correct in that they have not done this in a laboratory.

    "But, so far, chemistry had come up a bit short. An RNA molecule is basically a polymer of individual units comprised of a ring-shaped base molecule, a sugar, and a phosphate. Chemists had figured out different ways that simple organic chemicals that were likely to be present in the early earth could form the base and sugar (phosphates are abundant). But, so far, they'd failed to chemically link them together in a functional unit."

    OK I thought I read it correctly and your statement was just a tad off. It is plausible, but not more than a hypothesis at this point.

    PS I agree with you for the most part. Just thought this comment "Prior to this study, researchers had been unable to get RNA to self-organize from simpler components. Now they have, in conditions that are plausible for early earth." was exaggerated a Little. Either that or I was mistaken in my reading.
    Last edited by Black Dog; 05-15-09 at 11:48 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Moot View Post
    Benjii likes the protests...he'd be largely irrelevant without them. So he needs to speak where he knows there will be protests against him and that makes him responsible for the protests.
    Quote Originally Posted by Absentglare View Post
    You can successfully wipe your ass with toilet paper, that doesn't mean that you should.

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    Norville Rogers
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    Re: Scientists May Have Found How Life Began

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackdog View Post
    So I was correct in that they have not done this in a laboratory.

    "But, so far, chemistry had come up a bit short. An RNA molecule is basically a polymer of individual units comprised of a ring-shaped base molecule, a sugar, and a phosphate. Chemists had figured out different ways that simple organic chemicals that were likely to be present in the early earth could form the base and sugar (phosphates are abundant). But, so far, they'd failed to chemically link them together in a functional unit."

    OK I thought I read it correctly and your statement was just a tad off. It is plausible, but not more than a hypothesis at this point.
    That last sentence reads, "But, so far, [they had] failed to chemically link them together in a functional unit." In this study, they succeeded.

    To get there, the researchers took the simple organic chemicals that had been used to make a sugar and base in separate reactions: cyanamide, cyanoacetylene, glycolaldehyde, and glyceraldehyde. They then used a systems chemistry approach, exploring all the reactions that the chemicals could undergo. They came up with a simple, four-step synthesis that went through the three-ringed intermediate molecule. The key question was whether any of the reactions would actually take place under realistic conditions.

    Building up a two-ringed intermediate had already been described in the literature, but the reaction only ran under very basic conditions, which would have destroyed one of the other reaction compounds. It turned out that adding phosphate at this step allowed it to catalyze the reaction at neutral pH, providing an 80 percent yield of a two-ringed chemical. The next step, a reaction with cyanoacetylene to form the final intermediate, would typically turn the reaction solution acidic, altering the products. Instead, the phosphate buffered the solution, keeping it near a neutral pH and fostering the production of the three-ringed compound. The phosphate also reacted with a reaction byproduct, ensuring that a reverse-reaction couldn't take place.

    Finally, with a little bit of heat, the phosphate would react with the three ringed structure, forming a mature RNA base, and linking the phosphate in a reactive state that's suitable for polymerization into an RNA molecule. Although this is specific for the cytosine base, exposing it to UV converted some of it to uridine, the other base of this sort.
    PS I agree with you for the most part. Just thought this comment "Prior to this study, researchers had been unable to get RNA to self-organize from simpler components. Now they have, in conditions that are plausible for early earth." was exaggerated a Little. Either that or I was mistaken in my reading.
    Indeed, that was a misstatement. It should have read (and now does) "Prior to this study, researchers had been unable to get RNA to self-organize from simpler components in conditions that are plausible for early earth. Now they have"
    Last edited by Kernel Sanders; 05-15-09 at 11:50 PM.

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    Re: Scientists May Have Found How Life Began

    Quote Originally Posted by Kernel Sanders View Post
    That last sentence reads, "But, so far, [they had] failed to chemically link them together in a functional unit." In this study, they succeeded.

    Indeed, that was a misstatement. It should have read (and now does) "Prior to this study, researchers had been unable to get RNA to self-organize from simpler components in conditions that are plausible for early earth. Now they have"
    Ahhh OK, we were both off. Cool.

    Pretty exciting times!

    Thanks
    Last edited by Black Dog; 05-15-09 at 11:52 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Moot View Post
    Benjii likes the protests...he'd be largely irrelevant without them. So he needs to speak where he knows there will be protests against him and that makes him responsible for the protests.
    Quote Originally Posted by Absentglare View Post
    You can successfully wipe your ass with toilet paper, that doesn't mean that you should.

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    Re: Scientists May Have Found How Life Began

    Quote Originally Posted by American View Post
    So who knows when things started evolving? Hmmm?
    doesn't matter considering we are probably now in the process of DEvolving...
    Oracle of Utah
    Truth rings hollow in empty heads.

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    Re: Scientists May Have Found How Life Began

    Quote Originally Posted by Hatuey View Post
    So much for people being made from ribs and mud.
    If it was spoken figuratively it is right on the money. Fact is we have no idea if it was literal or otherwise.
    Quote Originally Posted by Moot View Post
    Benjii likes the protests...he'd be largely irrelevant without them. So he needs to speak where he knows there will be protests against him and that makes him responsible for the protests.
    Quote Originally Posted by Absentglare View Post
    You can successfully wipe your ass with toilet paper, that doesn't mean that you should.

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    Re: Scientists May Have Found How Life Began

    I think this article explains it a tad better: Mystery of how life on Earth began solved by British scientists - Telegraph

    Apparently they were able to synthesize two of the four building blocks of RNA (although which two I don't know). To quote Dr. Sutherland, ""We haven't yet made the RNA molecule itself but we've made two of the four sub-units or building blocks. It suggests that making the molecule is possible. The building blocks are strung together and doing that is actually easier than making the building blocks themselves".

    Exciting stuff!

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    Re: Scientists May Have Found How Life Began

    Quote Originally Posted by Singularity View Post
    I think this article explains it a tad better: Mystery of how life on Earth began solved by British scientists - Telegraph

    Apparently they were able to synthesize two of the four building blocks of RNA (although which two I don't know). To quote Dr. Sutherland, ""We haven't yet made the RNA molecule itself but we've made two of the four sub-units or building blocks. It suggests that making the molecule is possible. The building blocks are strung together and doing that is actually easier than making the building blocks themselves".

    Exciting stuff!
    This is what I don't agree with. The title is very misleading. They have not solved anything yet. They have good evidence that will hopefully lead them in the right direction, but solved? Not by a long shot.

    Yes it is pretty exciting.

    This was not an attack on you. Started reading the article and it is excellent so far. I just think the title is misleading.
    Quote Originally Posted by Moot View Post
    Benjii likes the protests...he'd be largely irrelevant without them. So he needs to speak where he knows there will be protests against him and that makes him responsible for the protests.
    Quote Originally Posted by Absentglare View Post
    You can successfully wipe your ass with toilet paper, that doesn't mean that you should.

  10. #30
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    Re: Scientists May Have Found How Life Began

    Quote Originally Posted by Singularity View Post
    I think this article explains it a tad better: Mystery of how life on Earth began solved by British scientists - Telegraph

    Apparently they were able to synthesize two of the four building blocks of RNA (although which two I don't know). To quote Dr. Sutherland, ""We haven't yet made the RNA molecule itself but we've made two of the four sub-units or building blocks. It suggests that making the molecule is possible. The building blocks are strung together and doing that is actually easier than making the building blocks themselves".

    Exciting stuff!
    To make an analogy, they made ethene, RNA is polyethylene. The focus of the study was assembling the monomer in realistic conditions

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