Life might have Evolved in Clay, Researchers Find
Cornell University scientists might have unraveled the mystery around formation of life on earth. Their research shows that clay supported the synthesis of biochemicals.
For centuries, humans have been speculating about the origins of life. Recently, a Texas Tech University researcher had presented a study describing the evolution of basic organisms, which suggested that key molecules came on earth from space and the planet provided the right conditions for them to jump-start life. However, nobody has been able to explain how inorganic molecules suddenly got together to form complex life.
In the present study, Cornell University biological engineers speculate that clay hydrogel provided the necessary shelter for chemicals to come together and synthesize complex biomolecules.
Experiments using water samples that resemble ancient seawater have shown that clay forms a hydrogel under certain conditions. Hydrogel is a network of polymer chains that has the ability to soak-up huge quantities of water. Basically, these gels are super-sponges. Over billions of years, the trapped chemicals reacted and formed biochemicals such as proteins and DNA.
Clay, huh. Why does that sound familiar?