AliasMarlowe writes "Stanley Miller performed the famous experiments in the 1950s showing that amino acids and other building blocks for biomolecules could be produced by passing lightning through a mix of simple hydrocarbons, water vapor, and ammonia (thought at the time to approximate the Earth's early atmosphere). Other experiments approximated the environment around volcanic eruptions, but those results were not published. Following his death last year, a former student discovered the materials from those experiments, in labelled vials. Analysis of this material indicates that the conditions around volcanic eruptions (still thought to be representative of such events in the early Earth) resulted in a higher yield of amino acids than the simple lightning experiments, and resulted in a greater variety of amino acids." Pharyngula has a discussion of the Science paper, including a graph of the amino acids produced.
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