Cometary Molecules & Life’s Origin
The present paper discusses the problem of the origin of life on Earth. It is based on previous experimental work concerning the prebiological synthesis of biochemical molecules, such as adenine from hydrogen cyanide (Oró, 1960) and the subsequent hypothesis developed by the author on the role that cometary matter may have had on the formation of biochemical molecules on the primitive Earth. It was suggested (Oró, 1961) that the capture of comets by the primitive Earth provided the molecular precursors necessary for the eventual appearance of life on our planet. A major paper by (2000) has been published recently that explains in detail the cometary origin of the biosphere, and provides support for our initial experimental and theoretical studies (Oró, 1960, 1961). The present paper is in agreement with (2000) major conclusions, and we believe that the work from both laboratories provides a reasonably complete physical and ch emical insight into the difficult problem of the origin of life on the primitive Earth.
KeywordsFormaldehyde Uranium Oligomerization Cyanide Montmorillonite
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Calvin, M. (1969) Chemical Evolution. Oxford Univ. Press, New York, 278 pp.Google Scholar
- Chakrabarty, S.K. and Chakrabarty, S. (2000) Adenine abundance in a collapsing molecular cloud. Indian J. Phys. 2, 97–99.Google Scholar
- Ferris, J.P. (1998) Catalyzed RNA synthesis for the RNA world. In Brack, A. (Ed.) Molecular origins of life: Assembling pieces of the puzzle, Cambridge Univ. Press, pp 255–268.Google Scholar
- Joyce, G.F. and Orgel, L.E. (1999) Prospects for understanding the origin of the RNA world. In Gesteland R.F., Ceck T.R. and Atkins, J.F. (Eds.). The RNA world. The Nature of Modern RNA suggests a prebiotic RNA. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, pp 49–77.Google Scholar
- Miller, S.L. et al., (2000) Peptide Nucleic Acid rather than RNA may have been the first genetic molecule (Presented, sixth Trieste Conference on Chemical Evolution, september 18–20).Google Scholar
- Orgel, L. (2001) The origin of biological information. In: The Emergence of Life, Proceedings of the Gold Medal Simposium (Shcopf, J. W., ed.), In press.Google Scholar
- Oró, J. (1965) Stages and mechanisms of prebiological organic synthesis. In The Origins of Prebiological Systems (S.W. Fox, ed.), pp 137–171, Academic Press, New York, New York.Google Scholar
- Schopf J.W. (2000) Solution to Darwin’s dilemma: Discovery of the missing precambriam record of life (Lecture presented at the Sixth Trieste Conference on Chemical Evolution, sept. 18–20).Google Scholar