Life May Have Been Born in Ice

By Andrew Moseman | September 22, 2010 10:46 am

Arctic_SunsetFrom Ed Yong:

The origin of life is surely one of the most important questions in biology. How did inanimate molecules give rise to the “endless forms most beautiful” that we see today, and where did this event happen?  Some of the most popular theories suggest that life began in a hellish setting, in rocky undersea vents that churn out superheated water from deep within the earth. But a new paper suggests an alternative backdrop, and one that seems like the polar opposite (pun intended) of the hot vents –ice.

Like the vents, frozen fields of ice seem like counter-intuitive locations for the origin of life – they’re hardly a hospitable environment today. But according to James Attwater form the University of Cambridge, ice has the right properties to fuel the rise of “replicator” molecules, which can make copies of themselves, change and evolve.

Read the rest of this post at Not Exactly Rocket Science. And for more about the possibly frigid origins of life—and the implications of that for finding life beyond Earth—check out the DISCOVER feature “Did Life Evolve in Ice?

More Related Content:
Not Exactly Rocket Science: Tree Or Ring: The Origin of Complex Cells
80beats: Earth Raised up Its Magnetic Shield Early, Protecting Water and Emerging Life
80beats: Dust Collected From Comet Contains a Key Ingredient of Life

Image: Wikimedia Commons

  • forrest noble

    This hypothesis seems to increase the possibility of life first being created in cometary material and later deposited in the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans. The advantage of this theory has always been that it allows for a much greater period of time to evolve its complexity that seems to have existed from its beginning.

  • Zachary Sump

    Hey, I recently arrived to this website and I’ve visited it daily given that that in order to remain current. Keep up the great work.


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