Life may have originated in deep-sea hydrothermal vents
New York: Life on Earth may have originated in hydrothermal vents where acidic seawater met with alkaline fluid from the planet`s crust, according to a new theory.
The theory proposes that the primordial life-forms that gave rise to all life on Earth left deep-sea vents because of their "invention" of a tiny pump.
These primitive cellular pumps would have powered life-giving chemical reactions, LiveScience reported.
The idea could help explain two mysteries of life`s early origin: How did the earliest proto-cells power chemical reactions to make the organic building blocks of life; and how did they leave hydrothermal vents to colonise early Earth`s oceans?
Authors of the theory in the journal Cell argue the environmental conditions in porous hydrothermal vents - where heated, mineral-laden seawater spews from cracks in the ocean crust - created a gradient in positively charged protons that served as a "battery" to fuel the creation of organic molecules and proto-cells.
Later, primitive cellular pumps gradually evolved the ability to use a different type of gradient - the difference in sodium particles inside and outside the cell - as a battery to power the construction of complex molecules like proteins. And, the proto-cells could leave the deep-sea hydrothermal vents.
"At the time of life`s origin, the early ocean was acidic and filled with positively charged protons, while the deep-sea vents spewed out bitter alkaline fluid, which is rich in negatively charged hydroxide ions," Lane told the website.
"The vents created furrowed rocky, iron- and sulfur-rich walls full of tiny pores that separated the warm alkaline vent fluid from the cooler, acidic seawater. The interface between the two created a natural charge gradient. It`s a little bit like a battery," Lane said.
That battery then powered the chemical transformation of carbon dioxide and hydrogen into simple carbon-based molecules such as amino acids or proteins.
Eventually that gradient drove the creation of cellular membranes, complicated proteins and ribonucleic acid (RNA), a molecule similar to DNA.
At that point, primitive cells used the thin, serpentine walls of the vent to corral the new carbon-based molecules together into precursors of cells and used the charge gradient in the environment to power the building of more complex organic chemicals, researchers believe.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Is Akhilesh Yadav overlooking Muslims as Mulayam Singh alleged?
- DNA: Why did Navjot Singh Sidhu call BJP 'Kaikeyi’, Congress ‘Kaushalya’?
- 38-year-old arrested for ‘raping’ minors in Delhi; assaulted over 600 girls
- BJP announces 149 names in first list of candidates for UP elections
- My father wanted me to be a man of character: Navjot Singh Siddhu
- Geeta Phogat comes to rescue of Zaira Wasim; hits out at trolls, asks actress not to apologise
- ‘Dangal’ star Zaira Wasim says I am not a role model, not proud of what I am doing
- Assembly Elections: BJP releases list of 149 candidates for Uttar Pradesh, 64 for Uttarakhand
- China's NSG stand is neither fair nor transparent, says Defence Expert
- Serial child rapist arrested in Delhi, says 'preyed on girls for sexual satisfaction, enjoyed it'