How animals in the hydrothermal vent can live with the high temperature.

Davin C. Enigl enigl at aol.com
Sat Mar 30 09:29:52 EST 2002


On Sat, 30 Mar 2002 13:29:28 +0000, Jonathan Silverlight
<jsilver at merseia.fsnet.co.uk> wrote:


>I suspect it will go the other way - inorganic casts have great 
>stability but organic molecules have much more flexibility in the ways 
>you can put them together.
>There's a theory that the original substrate for the evolution of life 
>was inorganic (Cairns ??) and there's an SF story by Hal Clement in 
>which zeolite is used as the template for coding artificial life-forms.

So, this is a little different than the "standard" theory,
http://www.resa.net/nasa/origins_life.htm, Abiotic Production of
Organic Molecules.  The classic experiment demonstrating the
mechanisms by which inorganic elements could combine to form the
precursors of organic chemicals was the 1950 experiment by Stanley
Miller.

Inorganic catalysts were probably available.  Components of
nucleotides or even fully formed amino acids became surface adsorbed
following Guenter Waechtershaeuser, on a surface of some mineral.  

Nucleotides or amino acids might only combine in specific orientations
and hence initiate a cascade of life-forming reactions.

Minerals migth have acted as catalysts like this, but the specificity
has not yet been duplicated in an experiment, as far as I know.
Stuart Kauffman has calculated what happens with random catalyst
formation in his book (2000) Investigations.  I think he worte 100 x
10^6 catalysts were all that is needed for a complete tool kit for
life as we know it our of say, 10 x 10^12  possible random
catalyst-forming combinations.





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