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Abiogenesis

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Teleological
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« on: July 06, 2010, 13:19:18 PM »

Slowly but surely scientists are discovering the possible ways life emerged from non-life. Personally, I think the RNA-world first scenario driven by small, transiently self-sustaining metabolic cycles that produce precursors for the RNA world is the most plausible scenario of how it happened.

But, other areas of research are also interesting. For example:
Zapping Titan-Like Atmosphere With UV Rays Creates Life Precursors

So, feel free to post more interesting developments related to abiogenesis.
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Mefiante
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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2014, 10:03:17 AM »

Reconstructed ancient ocean reveals secrets about the origin of life.  An incipient answer to the problem of how metabolic reactions may have arisen.  If borne out by further research, it will mark an important bridging step between life emerging from non-life, something the creationist and ID crowd say can’t happen by strictly natural means.

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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2014, 10:09:17 AM »

May I ask a humble question...

Given how much effort guys like the WHO and CDC have to go through to contain pathogens, and given that research into abiogenesis aims to, in proving that it works, essentially create a new form of life that may or may not have different chemistry than our own. Do they go through the same rigour to ensure such new lifeforms don't escape the lab with potentially devastating consequences?
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cr1t
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2014, 10:24:07 AM »

May I ask a humble question...

Given how much effort guys like the WHO and CDC have to go through to contain pathogens, and given that research into abiogenesis aims to, in proving that it works, essentially create a new form of life that may or may not have different chemistry than our own. Do they go through the same rigour to ensure such new lifeforms don't escape the lab with potentially devastating consequences?

No, I'm sure they just wash the stuff down the basin at the end of the day.
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2014, 10:41:01 AM »

If current expert knowledge is to be trusted, we’re still quite a long way off from creating any new life forms.  The aim of such investigations is to broaden understanding of what the required conditions are for abiogenesis to occur, if at all.  To answer your question, while there are many different aspects to this field with differing levels of associated (potential) hazard, I’d be astonished if relevant biochemical and biophysical research in areas where the (potential) hazard is very high, is conducted at facilities that are any less secure than biosafety level 4.

Currently, the probability is much greater that an engineered or naturally mutated pathogen could appear and decimate humanity than that abiogenesis research would produce a simple new life form that attacks humans.

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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2014, 10:44:25 AM »

No, I'm sure they just wash the stuff down the basin at the end of the day.
Ah, so THAT'S how creationists evolved. Someone better count their base pairs.
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2014, 11:45:32 AM »

Currently, the probability is much greater that an engineered or naturally mutated pathogen could appear and decimate humanity than that abiogenesis research would produce a simple new life form that attacks humans.

Point taken.

I would however want to point out that such a life form wouldn't have to attack humans per se. A simple thing that is really good at eating bacteria could have similarly dire consequences.
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« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2014, 12:03:32 PM »

If current expert knowledge is to be trusted, we’re still quite a long way off from creating any new life forms. 
'Luthon64

I don't really know all too much about abiogenesis, but given that we can't even say we now know about all the elements that already exist, I don't see how we can create even new elements that don't occur naturally somewhere. I heard a while back that it stands at something like 118? I think the table we got at school only went to a 103 or something
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2014, 12:26:51 PM »

Making new very heavy elements is only of academic importance. They usually go to pieces soon after being created. In my opinion you shouldn't call something an element if you can't bottle it and show at least half of it to your grandchildren.

R.
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« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2014, 12:38:00 PM »

There are sound QM reasons why there’s a strong negative correlation between the atomic mass of nuclei and their half-life.  As Rigil has indicated, synthesised heavy nuclei very rapidly decay into smaller, more stable pieces.  You can read more about naturally-occurring vs. synthesised elements here.

'Luthon64
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