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Mystery Behind Origin Of Life On Earth May Have Finally Been Solved

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The origin of life on Earth has been debated on by many scientists. Researchers at the University of Cambridge claim that they have now solved the mystery behind the origin of life on the planet.

There are many theories about the origin of life on Earth. People have given religious theories as well as scientific ones. Many researchers also claim that life did not originate on Earth but was brought to the planet by extra-terrestrials, comets or other celestial objects.

John Sutherland at the University of Cambridge, who led the research, said that for life to begin, there should be genetic molecules like RNA or DNA, which can pass along blueprints for creating proteins. However, proteins are required to copy RNA and DNA.

Sutherland also explained that none of the molecules can work without fatty lipids that provide the membranes needed to hold the content inside. However, no one knows which came first.

Scientists suggest that everything needed to start every form of life on Earth can evolve from hydrogen sulfide, ultraviolet (UV) light and hydrogen cyanide. All three may have existed on Earth billions of years ago.

Sutherland said that with the help of these three ingredients, the study was able to produce over 50 nucleic acids, which act in the earliest stage of RNA and DNA development.

Scientists note that meteorites may have carried some materials that reacted with nitrogen present in the Earth's atmosphere and produced hydrogen cyanide. Dissolving the material in water made it come in contact with hydrogen sulfide. The researchers claim these two materials, along with UV rays shining from the sun, were enough for early life forms to begin on the planet.

"The key reaction steps are driven by ultraviolet light," the researchers reported.

Scientists do not have concrete evidence to support their work but the findings are significant in understanding the possible origin of life on Earth. If the theory is proven, it can be one of the biggest achievements in the scientific field.

The study is profiled in the journal Nature Chemistry.

Photo: Mehmet Pinarci | Flickr

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