Health, Science, Life

July 13, 2009

Brown Soup

Scientists have produced a brown soup which may be the sort of substance life on Earth developed from. Methane gas and ammonia were mixed, the mixture was bombarded with an electric spark for 24 hours. In this way our primitive atmosphere with its thunder-storms was imitated. Hydrogen cyanide was produced and it turned into a black solid. Next, water was added to it, and the black solid became a brown scum. The scum contained proteins. It is thought that a scum-like substance once covered the Earth.

Experiments like this had been made before. But this was the first time that proteins were produced, till then amino-acids had been obtained in all the previous experiments.

Life must have come from simple, non-living forms millions of years ago. It must have started in the earth’s primitive oceans, whose consistency was like thin soup.

The big difficulty of synthesizing life lies in the fact that the primitive conditions could never be exactly reproduced. Darwin said, “If we could conceive in some warm little pond with all sort of ammonia, phosphoric salts, light, heat, electricity, etc. present, that a protein compound was chemically formed, ready to undergo still more complex changes, at the present day, such matter would be instantly devoured or absorbed which would not have been the case before living creatures were formed.”

Whether life can be made in laboratories in the next ten years remains to be seen. But such experiments show how the road to life started and, perhaps, how life forms started to evolve on our planet.

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2009