Discussion in 'Science and Nature' started by Yana Usdi, Oct 31, 2014.

  1. Since this is a topic that comes up often enough but there seems to be little real info out there about it I figured it's worth a quick post to share some of where we now stand on the subject. I'll share two video playlists which between them should cover the basics and offer plenty of terms and info for those who want to dig into it more.
    A couple of points should be made clear first. First of all abiogenesis is NOT the spontaneous appearance of life out of nothing which it's often confused with, sometimes intentionally and dishonestly. It's the development of life over time through natural chemical processes. Second, as one of the videos points out the field is in its infancy and not nearly as solid as evolution and others, at this point we're still exploring the basics and trying to figure out how it would work. Progress so far though is promising.
    First playlist is a pair of 10 minute or so videos which go over the basics from different directions, the first covering some of the basics so far and the second exploring the work of a gentleman named Dr. Jack Szostak who is one of the leading voices in the field. The second link goes into a LOT more detail and is intended more for those with some background in biology, it's a set of three hour long lectures by Jack Szostak which are described as follows.
    "Szostak begins his lecture with examples of the extreme environments in which life exists on Earth. He postulates that given the large number of Earth-like planets orbiting Sun-like stars, and the ability of microbial life to exist in a wide range of environments, it is probable that an environment that could support life exists somewhere in our galaxy. However, whether or not life does exist elsewhere, depends on the answer to the question of how difficult it is for life to arise from the chemistry of the early planets. Szostak proceeds to demonstrate that by starting with simple molecules and conditions found on the early earth, it may in fact be possible to generate a primitive, self-replicating protocell.

    "In Part 2, Szostak focuses on work from his lab studying the membrane components of a simple protocell and in Part 3 of his lecture, he describes experiments to investigate nucleic acid replication by chemical rather than enzymatic mechanisms."


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