Finding out more about the mysteries of life’s origins on Earth is important, especially as we try to find life beyond our solar system. A new bit of research could change everything, finally bridging how Earth went from being a lifeless marble to the teeming planet that we know today.
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See, the journey to figure out how life began on Earth is somewhat experimental, mostly because we just don’t know how it happened. Researchers tend to use one of two methods to study the origins and evolution of life. One is a top down approach, which looks at life as it exists today. The other involves a bottom up method that begins before any life forms appear on Earth.
Both attempt to trace evolutionary lines which have lead our planet to be the ever-changing and teeming place it is now. However, neither has ever answered how the first particles or life on Earth came to exist. That big mystery of life’s origins could have finally been uncovered.
According to a new paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the same electron transport chains that power metabolism could be the connective tissue between the bottom-up and top-down approaches that scientists use to research the origins of life on Earth. These chains are the basic points used to transport enzymes, which makes them a perfect bridge in the evolutionary timeline of Earth’s first lifeforms.
“Understanding how these most basic biological systems first took shape will not only give us greater insight into how life works at the most fundamental level, but what life actually is in the first place and how we might look for it beyond Earth,” says Aaron Goldman, an Associate Professor of Biology at Oberlin College, in a statement on the research.
If true, the research gives us additional insight that could help us better understand how life formed on other planets, which NASA can no doubt use as it searches through the bowels of the cosmos for signs of life beyond our own.
The post New NASA study might solve the biggest mystery of life’s origins appeared first on BGR.