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Biotech Science

Life May Have Evolved In Ice 159

Philip Bailey writes "An article in this month's Discover Magazine claims that some of the fundamental organic molecules required for the development of life could have spontaneously arisen within ice. Scientist Stanley Miller was responsible for seminal experiments in the 1950s in this area. He used sparks and a mixture of inorganic chemicals to test his theories, but turned to low temperature experiments in later years. He was able to create the constituents of RNA and proteins from a mixture of cyanide, ammonia and ice in trials lasting up to 25 years. A process known as eutectic freezing is thought to be the basis of these results: small pockets of liquid water, in which foreign molecules are concentrated enormously, increases the reaction rates, and more than compensates for temperature-related slowing."
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Life May Have Evolved In Ice

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 03, 2008 @09:43PM (#22286602)
    Indeed, especially since that was of course before cyanbacteria & friends turned off the enormous greenhouse effect by converting nearly all the CO2 to Oxygen - which then caused Snowball Earth and nearly killed life again (a chain of events the first intelligent form of life on this planet might want to keep in mind). I guess sol was much dimmer back then so that balanced out, or the intense vulcanism in on the young earth prevented much of the sunlight from reaching earth...
  • by OzRoy ( 602691 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @10:49PM (#22286934)
    This is completely off-topic, but the event I mentioned is called an Anoxic Event ( [] ) and how this relates to oil production is talked about in this fascinating documentary []
  • Re:Ice... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rakshasa Taisab ( 244699 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @11:08PM (#22287030) Homepage
    I believe what you should be searching for is "faint young sun", and I learned about it in my introductory astronomy class so it's not just made up. The sun had about 70% of its current output back then.
  • Re:Ice... (Score:4, Informative)

    by repapetilto ( 1219852 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @11:18PM (#22287072)
    I don't think you're getting the beauty of this. There is no need for the involvement of a special animating force, all thats required are the "forces" we already see as behind everything else thats going on at a molecular level (ie electrostatic). Under certain conditions (adsorbing to the ice surface and being in high concentrations in a cold environment) the would-be collection of random atoms assume a more stable state by reacting with each other and eventually forming compounds like adenine.
  • by belligerent0001 ( 966585 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @11:26PM (#22287124)
    I always knew that the ancient Nordic legends made infinitely more sense.... In the beginning, Ginnungagap yawned across the great void between the realms of fire and cold. When the warm air from the south met the cold air from the north, the ice of Ginnungagap began to melt. Drop by drop fell forming Ymir, the Frost Giant and first living thing of all. And from Ymir sprang the race of Frost Giants. The drops of melting ice from Ginnungagap also formed Audhumla, the primal cow. Her milk nourished Ymir at the start of creation. As Audhumla licked and licked at the ice of Ginnungagap, she revealed something frozen in the ice. She licked for days and finally Buri, the first man, was freed from his frozen prison. Buri, had a son, Bor, who married Bestla, the daughter of a Frost Giant. They in turn had three sons, Odin, Vili, and Ve. These were the first gods. Stick that in your frankincense burner and...well burn it...
  • by OzRoy ( 602691 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @11:41PM (#22287230)
    Except the Oxygen Catastrophe caused the first ice age.

    With ice in abundance the ice tolerant creatures have just as much, maybe a greater chance of surviving.
  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Monday February 04, 2008 @04:03AM (#22288678) Journal
    So why did you claim that it explains "dry wells refilling", and where is your source for the "everyone is taught this in Europe" claim you made in reply to the other poster?

    It's FUD just like the anti-global warming FUD they have been peddling for the last 20yrs. Here is a random site [] that debunks the abiotic oil theory, there are many more out there.

    And yes, a "-1 wrong" mod would come in handy, but for this kind of thing a "-1 bullshit" is more appropriate.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford