A new hypothesis explains the formation of life on Earth
A new study links spontaneous RNA formation in the basalt glass at the origin of the first simple life forms on Earth. L’RNA it can form spontaneously when the component molecules are filtered through the basaltic glass and this could help explain them origins of life on Earth and help us in the search for life on other planets.
A new study published in Astrobiology proposes a simple answer to one of science’s biggest questions: chow the simplest forms of life came out of nowhere?
One possible answer
The nucleotides that form the bases of DNA and RNA have already been found in meteorites, but explaining how they came together was much more difficult. The new research sought to fill these gaps by showing that basaltic glass causes a triphosphate nucleoside to bind together in RNA strands.
The basaltic glass was abundant on Earth when the first forms of life appeared due to frequent volcanism, which formed molten basaltic lava, the source of the basaltic glass. The impacts also evaporated the water and created dry land, which led to the emergence of aquifers where RNA may have formed.
Because of this no extreme conditions are necessary, as the authors demonstrated that RNA molecules have a synthesis rate of between 90-150 nucleotides at a temperature of 25 ° C and a pH of 7.5. “A small Hades-era surface impact region containing only a few tons of fractured, water-permeated glass may have had the ability to produce nearly one gram of RNA per day,” the authors reveal.
There is also mounting evidence that the nucleotide bases may have reached Earth from spacebases that are transformed into nucleosides in reduced atmospheres, such as the one that existed on our planet in its first days after theasteroid attack.
This raises the question of whether these RNA molecules were the catalyst for the beginning of life, a hypothesis that has long fascinated biologists. If this idea turns out to be true, then we will have to thank basalt for our existence, as other materials on Earth, such as quartz, have not had the same binding effect on nucleotides.