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Wed Oct 7, 2020, 10:10 PM

A New Chemical 'Tree of The Origins of Life' Reveals Our Possible Molecular Evolution (ScienceAlert)

MICHELLE STARR
3 OCTOBER 2020

One of the greatest mysteries in our Universe is right here on our own doorstep. No, closer - it's in every fibre of our being.

At least 3.7 billion years ago, a few simple molecules worked together to create something new. Then a few more. And, somehow, these snowballing combinations eventually produced the first very basic living organisms that would evolve and branch out to become all life on Earth.
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With a specially developed software tool, scientists in Poland and South Korea have traced the potential synthesis routes from the simple precursor molecules (prebiotics) present on early Earth to the complex biomolecules that gave rise to the planet's teeming life today.
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"We harnessed the power of computer-assisted organic synthesis to map the network of molecules that are synthesisable from basic prebiotic feedstocks."
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The software is called Allchemy, and the team developed it by encoding known prebiotic chemical reactions in a format that a machine can read. They included information about incompatible groups and conditions, and known reaction mechanisms under prebiotic conditions.
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more: https://www.sciencealert.com/a-new-chemical-tree-of-the-origins-of-life-reveals-our-possible-chemical-evolution
https://science.sciencemag.org/content/369/6511/eaaw1955

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Reply A New Chemical 'Tree of The Origins of Life' Reveals Our Possible Molecular Evolution (ScienceAlert) (Original post)
eppur_se_muova Oct 7 OP
NNadir Oct 8 #1
eppur_se_muova Oct 8 #2
NNadir Oct 8 #3
BadgerKid Oct 8 #4
myccrider Oct 8 #5

Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Thu Oct 8, 2020, 10:26 AM

1. Thank you for pointing this paper out.

I have access to the full Science paper, and with your permission I'll go over it in a separate thread this weekend if I find time.

I have been fascinated by the chemical origins of life for my whole adult life, and this looks like a fascinating approach to it.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #1)

Thu Oct 8, 2020, 11:14 AM

2. Feel free to post. I don't have even limited access due to the lockdown (campus closed).

I've been interested in this for a long time too, but have never gotten involved at a professional level.

Panspermia, on the other hand, strikes me as more like 'scientific romance', and even if there proved to be something to it, it would only beg the question, "well, where did that life come from?". And then we're right back to abiotic/prebiotic chemical evolution.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Reply #2)

Thu Oct 8, 2020, 11:34 AM

3. I think there are different levels of "panspermia."

It's kind of like the difference between the absurdly speculative strong and weak so called "Anthropic Principle."

From my perspective, the origins of chirality are best explained by nuclear radiation's asymmetry in deep space, those connected with the weak force. The origin of chirality is a big problem, I think, one that is unlikely to be addressed in my lifetime.

I, for one, have little difficulty with chiral molecules arriving from space. They apparently did so with the Murchison meteorite.

Whether complex molecules like DNA or RNA did so is another question.

I will say that panspermia is a concept that addresses the issue of probability.

I haven't actually had a chance to look at the full paper, so it will be interesting to see what is addressed in it.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Thu Oct 8, 2020, 03:38 PM

4. Thanks, been waiting for something like this. Kudos to them.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Thu Oct 8, 2020, 08:47 PM

5. Thanks

So cool. As said, we will probably never know for sure how life began on Earth and there may be more than one path possible, but this is another piece of evidence pointing to a completely natural explanation.

I spent several years helping [actually, mostly watching with an occasional kibbutz ] real scientists argue with creationists at talk.origins. Was interested in biology and evolution before that but became fascinated with the subjects (and learned a lot) through that experience. And ‘we’ actually changed some minds!

So I perk up when I see new discoveries.

Thanks again for posting.

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