Abiogenesis

Ever wondered how life on earth began billions of years ago? Apparently, this is still one of science’s biggest unsolved mysteries. Over the years, scientists have come up with a lot of theories and hypothesis to answer this question. One of the prevailing theories that were put forth is Abiogenesis – the gradual process by which life emerged from non-living matter such as simple organic compounds.

In today’s environment, there are two primary components, namely, biotic and abiotic components. However, a few billion years after the earth was formed, the landscape was inhospitable and life was nonexistent. The model of abiogenesis bridges this gap of how life formed from seemingly inanimate matter in the environment. But this process did not result in the instantaneous creation of life, instead, it was a gradual process that led to the very first precursors of life. This model is now accepted among the scientific community but it does not single out the exact process of how it all began. Instead, there are many hypotheses proposed for how this process has occurred.

The Miller–Urey experiment, which was carried out in 1952 shed light into the credibility of this hypothesis. In the experiment, conclusive evidence was provided when certain amino acids which are necessary for life were synthesized from inorganic compounds and simulated conditions resembling ancient earth. Essentially, this experiment laid the basic groundwork for future insights and experimentations in Abiogenesis. One of the more eccentric ideas that are based on abiogenesis is the fact that the ingredients of life came from space, however, there is not enough conclusive evidence to support this idea.

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