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The Origin and Chemistry of Life

Prepared by: Asst. Prof. Sheryl Santa Cruz-Biscocho

Origin of Life
Earth 4.6 BYA hot, barren, little liquid water, geologically active Atmosphere CH4, NH3, H2O, H2, CO2 Only a trace of free oxygen (reducing environment)

Over time, the earths crust cooled liquid water becomes more common Elements necessary for life . (C, N, H, O, P, S) are dissolved in water

Abiotic Molecular Evolution


Russian biochemist Alexander I. Oparin and British biologist J.B.S. Haldane 1920s Gradual, progressive assembly of small organic molecules into more complex forms 1.Carbohydrates2.Lipids 3.Proteins 4.Nucleic Acids

Chemical Evolution
Simple Molecules More Complex Molecules

H O H H

H C O N H H O H H H C H H

Carbohydrates Fatty Acids Amino Acids

Carbohydrates

Fatty Acids

Amino Acids

Stanley Miller and Harold Urey (1953)

Produced urea, amino acids, and simple fatty acids

Organic Molecules Polymerization RNA, protein Proteinoid Microspheres (Protocells) Metabolism (Catalysis) Cells

First Living Thing? 3.8 BYA Anaerobic, thermophilic, heterotrophic Prokaryote (Archaea)

Autotrophy
PhototrophsCO2 + H2O + energy CH2O + O2 use light energy to fix carbon production of O2 ! Changes atmosphere Chemotrophs eg. Hydrothermal Vent Communities use chemical energy to fix carbon and nitrogen CO2 + H2S + energy CH2O + thiosulfate

Hydrothermal Vent Communities

Cyanobacteria (Blue-Green Algae)


3 BYA, dominant life-form

Achaean Microfossil 3.5 BYA

Proteinoid Microspheres
Similar to protocells Protocells
Reproduce Natural selection favored those with the most efficient replicating systems
RNA DNA

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Eukaryotes -2 BYA Endosymbiont Theory L. Margulis (1981) Polyphyletic (originated more than once)

The First Animals


Fossils Date to 575 MYA Molecular data suggests as early as 700 MYA Foraminifera Protozoans Metazoans colonial sponges and corals Vendian Period Precambrian 560 MYA

Foraminiferan

Cambrian Explosion

Cambrian Explosion (543-510 MYA) multicellular organisms flourish and diversify Burgess Shale quarry British Columbia Late Cambrian/ Ordovician

Characteristics of Animals

Fig. 2.16