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Origins of the Earth

by: Ayla Sherrill

Origins of the Earth BIO 202 - 002

Ayla Sherrill

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About this Document

These notes cover the first day of class
Dr. Jarvis
Class Notes
Biology, 202
25 ?




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Ayla Sherrill on Tuesday January 12, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to BIO 202 - 002 at University of North Carolina - Wilmington taught by Dr. Jarvis in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 12 views. For similar materials see Biodiversity in Biology at University of North Carolina - Wilmington.


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Date Created: 01/12/16
Key Concepts: - Populations of organisms evolve from one generation to the next - Living organisms interact with their environment - Structure determines function - All species (past and present) are related by an evolutionary history - Biology is an experimental science Chapter 22: The Origin and History of Life on Earth Brief history: - 13.7 Bya: Big Bang - 4.6 Bya: Solar system began - 4.55 Bya: Earth was formed - 4 Bya: Earth’s outer layers cooled and solidified enough for the first oceans to form - 4-3.5 Bya: Life emerged o Life forms were mainly prokaryotes How did life get started? - Life got started in four stages: o Nucleotides and amino acids produced before cells o Nucleotides and amino acids become polymerized to form DNA, RNA, and proteins o Polymers become enclosed in membranes o Polymers enclosed in membranes acquired cellular properties - Stages in depth: o Stage 1: Origin of Organic Molecules  Conditions on primitive Earth may have been more conducive to spontaneous formation of molecules  Prebiotic or abiotic synthesis  Consensus that life developed from non-living matter on Earth  Mechanisms for how and why are still debated  3 main hypotheses: 1. Reducing Atmosphere Hypothesis o Oparin (Russian) and Haldane (Scottish) hypothesized in 1920’s and Miller & Urey hypothesized in the 1950’s o Abiotic synthesis is the synthesis of molecules and macromolecules spontaneously o This was possible due to the conditions of early Earth:  Reducing atmosphere  Little free oxygen gas (meaning no oxidation)  No life to metabolize/ use the molecules found on early Earth o These things led to an accumulation of macromolecules which is called the prebiotic soup Miller-Urey Experiment Summary: Miller and Urey used the process of boiling and cooling combined with electricity (to take the place of lightning) to recreate the possible conditions of early Earth. When working with the different elements and compounds that were likely present on early Earth, they were able to create 23 amino acids, 4 amines, sugars, and lipids. 2. Extraterrestrial Hypothesis o Meteorites had all of the things necessary for life to form and landed on Earth  It has been argued that the extreme heat, impact, and living in space would likely make these key ingredients for life ineffective o Many people have been testing asteroids o Germany has put bacteria onto a satellite and proved that bacteria can survive in space with either salt or sugars 3. Deep-Sea Vent Hypothesis o Wachter Shauser (German scientist) founded this theory in 1988 o Key organic molecules originated in deep sea vents  Super-heated water and hydrogen sulfide and metal ions could form biological molecules o Supported by the fact that there are many complex life forms around and in deep sea vents o Also supported by 1.43 bya fossils o Stage 2: Organic polymers  Prebiotic synthesis of polymers is not possible in aqueous solutions 1. Hydrolysis competes with polymerization  Experiments have shown formation of nucleic acid polymers and polypeptides on clay surfaces (clay has a charge) o Stage 3: Formation of boundaries  Protobiont: aggregate of prebiotically produced molecules and macromolecules that acquired a boundary, such as a lipid bilayer, that allow it to maintain an internal chemical environment distinct from that of its surroundings  Four characteristics of protobionts: 1. Boundary separated external environment from internal contents 2. Polymers inside the protobiont contained information 3. Polymers inside the protobiont had enzymatic function 4. Protobionts are capable of self-replication o Stage 4: RNA World  Majority of scientists favor RNA as the first macromolecule of protobionts  Three key RNA functions: 1. Ability to store information 2. Capacity for self-replication 3. Enzymatic function (ribosomes)  DNA and proteins cannot do all 3 functions


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