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Origin & Evolution of Life: July 2019


The emergence of oxygenic photosynthesis created a new niche with dramatic potential to transform energy flow through Earth's biosphere.

Tiny gas-filled bubbles in the porous rock found around hot springs are thought to have played an important role in the origin of life.

Structures inside rare bacteria are similar to those that power photosynthesis in plants today, suggesting the process is older than assumed.

Though it remains unknown how life began, there is a community of scientists who suspect it occurred in or around deep sea hydrothermal environments.

Inspired by the processes of cellular differentiation observed in developmental biology, an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Bristol have demonstrated a new spontaneous approach to building communities of cell-like entities (protocells) using chemical gradients.

Before life began on Earth, the environment likely contained a massive number of chemicals that reacted with each other more or less randomly, and it is unclear how things as complex as cells could have emerged from such chemical chaos.

Peptides, one of the fundamental building blocks of life, can be formed from the primitive precursors of amino acids under conditions similar to those expected on the primordial Earth, finds a new UCL study.

Potential precursors to life on Earth form from a variety of complex mixtures, according to a team of scientists who say this could point to the development of building blocks crucial to forming genetic molecules for the origins of life on Earth.

The ocean as we understand it today was shaped by a global evolutionary regime shift around 170 million years ago, according to new research.