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Author Topic: How did life get started?  (Read 1868 times)

Offline thedoc

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How did life get started?
« on: 09/04/2013 03:30:03 »
"spideymia asked the Naked Scientists:
   
I'm Mia Paget and I'm 15, doing my GCSEs and I love your show!!! I have a question : when life first came into existence what actually happened? One day did a bacteria suddenly decide to pop up? I would like to know what process created life. And what classified this transformation from "Nothing" into "Life"

Sorry if my question is confusing!

Thanks so much, will be listening out!

From Mia :)

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 09/04/2013 03:30:03 by _system »


 

Offline Ethos_

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Re: How did life get started?
« Reply #1 on: 09/04/2013 04:25:26 »
"spideymia asked the Naked Scientists:
   
I'm Mia Paget and I'm 15, doing my GCSEs and I love your show!!! I have a question : when life first came into existence what actually happened? One day did a bacteria suddenly decide to pop up? I would like to know what process created life. And what classified this transformation from "Nothing" into "Life"

Sorry if my question is confusing!

Thanks so much, will be listening out!

From Mia :)

What do you think?
Miss Mia Paget;

That question is being considered by the best scientific minds of our day and we still don't know the exact sequence of events that triggered life on this planet. There are a few clues however. It may be possible that it all started with a virus. Viruses are replicating combinations of DNA and RNA but can't be classified as living organisms. I wish I had a complete answer for you Mia, but we will have to wait a while until science has a better answer.

......................Ethos_
« Last Edit: 09/04/2013 04:31:42 by Ethos_ »
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: How did life get started?
« Reply #2 on: 09/04/2013 11:31:08 »
I'm not sure you could say life began as a virus, as viruses and phages can only survive with a living host cell.

I.E.  for a virus or a phage to exist, there must have already been some kind of a pre-existing living cell.  I.E.  no virus can infect a non-living plasmid and bring it to life.

A new class of viruses has been discovered called virophages which is a type of virus that can only exist in a cell that has already been infected by a second virus.  I.E, in a symbiotic relationship, genes are delivered to the cell from multiple sources.   

It is, of course, possible that early life replicated quite differently than what we have today. 

It would be my thought that viruses either evolved after cells evolved, perhaps as a type of malignant plasmid, or perhaps co-evolved with cellular life as a method to share genes.

Abiogenesis, or the origin of life, is a complex process.  There are many chicken or the egg scenarios.  Which came first, proteins or DNA? 

It has been demonstrated that many of the simple organic molecules such as amino acids can be formed out of simple carbon compounds, and energy such as electrostatic discharge.  It is quite possible that early life also had non-specific catalyst agents, until they eventually evolved complex proteins for reaction catalyst.

Unfortunately, our lab experiments only cover a few years, or a few decades.  Abiogenesis likely occurred over thousands or millions of years, followed by a long period of evolution to form stable cells.  In the absence of biological life, organic compounds can last for a very long time.  So, a type of mycell, or soap bubble might form, support life for a period of time, get lysed for some reason, and then the cellular constituents might be picked  up by another protocell.
 

Offline chris

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Re: How did life get started?
« Reply #3 on: 09/04/2013 20:09:06 »
Hello, Mia.

This interview we did with Jeff Bada from UCSD might help:

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/content/interviews/interview/2131/

chris
 

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Re: How did life get started?
« Reply #3 on: 09/04/2013 20:09:06 »

 

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