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Oceanic Research: April 2014


The chemical reactions behind the formation of common metabolites in modern organisms could have formed spontaneously in the earth's early oceans, questioning the events thought to have led to the origin of life.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have published details about how the first organisms on Earth could have become metabolically active.

Life took root more than four billion years ago on our nascent Earth, a wetter and harsher place than now, bathed in sizzling ultraviolet rays. What started out as simple cells ultimately transformed into slime molds, frogs, elephants, humans and the rest of our planet's living kingdoms. How did it all begin?

Deep-sea hydrothermal plumes--waters nearly two miles down in the ocean--are home to processes that effect life across the planet. However, high pressure and water temperatures that exceed 300 degrees Celsius have made research on the plumes very difficult.