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  Topic: Abiogenesis discussion thread, No trolls please, we're adults< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5375
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 03 2008,06:07   

Interesting article in Discover Mag on experiments involving an icy abiogenesis.

Quote
Miller had filled the vial in 1972 with a mixture of ammonia and cyanide, chemicals that scientists believe existed on early Earth and may have contributed to the rise of life. He had then cooled the mix to the temperature of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa—too cold, most scientists had assumed, for much of anything to happen. Miller disagreed. Examining the vial in his laboratory at the University of California at San Diego, he was about to see who was right.

As Miller and his former student Jeffrey Bada brushed the frost from the vial that morning, they could see that something had happened. The mixture of ammonia and cyanide, normally colorless, had deepened to amber, highlighting a web of cracks in the ice. Miller nodded calmly, but Bada exclaimed in shock. It was a color that both men knew well—the color of complex polymers made up of organic molecules. Tests later confirmed Miller's and Bada’s hunch. Over a quarter-century, the frozen ammonia-cyanide blend had coalesced into the molecules of life: nucleobases, the building blocks of RNA and DNA, and amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. The vial’s contents would support a new account of how life began on Earth and would arouse both surprise and skepticism around the world.


The full article is about 4 pages long, and pretty interesting.  Kinda sad when the guy had a stroke and the U threw out most of his experiments, though.  Apparently, a bunch of them had been running for years and years.  Even worse, he was there for several hours, watching them flush his life's work.

(ht to WhoreChurch, who used to post here as "Scary Facts".)

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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