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Did Life Begin in Ice?

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posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 09:48 PM
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Interesting cover story in the February 2008 issue of Discover.

Dr. Stanley Miller, at UC-San Diego, froze samples of ammonia and cyanide for 25 years at -108 degrees Fahrenheit(!), and when the samples were finally thawed in 1997 (according to the article, samples were sent to multiple scientists to thaw and analyze), they found that the chemical cocktails had formed amino acids and nucleobases crucial to the formation of RNA and proteins. Though this flies in the face of what is normally expected in very low temperatures, it is possible (according to the article) due to eutectic freezing.

The article then ties these experiments with those of Hauke Trinks (awesome name) and Christof Biebricher at the Max Planck Institute in Germany. They froze small amounts of RNA nucleobases (the same types that Miller generated in his experiment) for one year. When thawed, they found that they had created RNA chains of up to 700 nucleobases long, the longest ever created in a lab without the aid of enzymes. To be fair, the scientists used a single RNA chain as a template to seed the experiments. However, the article cites other experiments where the same material was frozen at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for one month, and they found RNA molecules 30 bases long, without the aid of templates.

Needless to say, I'm curious to hear what everyone else has to say on these experiments - especially if anyone else has read the article. These days, with the Snowball Earth hypotheses gaining crediblity, these experiments offer very, very interesting alternatives to the usual Primordial Soup theories. Not to mention, that these experiments are the first (to my knowledge) to seriously hint at abiogenisis. Two cents would be appreciated.




posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 05:42 PM
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Nothing? No one's got anything to say on what basically amounts to scientists claiming they've created the basic building-blocks of life - ex nihilo - in a lab setting?



posted on Feb, 3 2008 @ 12:55 PM
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that's not really a surprise is it?

everything in our culture revolves around cooking things, be it food, metals, glass - pretty much every material in use is concocted using a heating, reaction and a cooling phase. besides, freezing things is boring, because everything takes ages to complete then.

as weird as it may sound, this reminds me of some guy who claimed that submerging machine parts in liquid N2 for weeks made them much more durable. self assembly at low temperatures appears to be real.



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