September 8, 2014


'Primordial Soup' Computer Model Tracks The Beginning Of Life At The Atomic Level (Francie Diep, 09.08.2014, Popular Science)

Two researchers from France used a computer model to track the fates of just a few dozen early-Earth molecules as they're exposed to electric fields of increasing strength. The model was kind of a simplified Miller experiment, reimagined for the modern age. (The kind of computing power the model required wasn't yet available in the 1950s.)

Among other things, the model tracked the formation of intermediate molecules that eventually turned into glycine, a simple amino acid that often shows up in Miller-type experiments. Before the gases made glycine, they first made organic chemicals including formic acid and formamide, the model found. In their paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists suggest that astronomers could look for these molecules on other planets and solar systems. They could be signs of the kinds of reactions that led to life on Earth.


Posted by at September 8, 2014 5:05 PM

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