Posts Tagged ‘Phosphorus

Did Phosphorus Power the Origin of Life?

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“Not only is phosphorus the active component of ATP, it also forms the backbone of DNA and is important in the structure of cell walls. But despite its importance to life, it is not fully understood how phosphorus first appeared in our atmosphere. One theory is that it was contained within the many meteorites that collided with the Earth billions of years ago.” Dr Terry Kee of the University of Leeds
(Image above is Mono Lake, site of the recent and controversial NASA discovery that ansenic may have replaced phosphorus position in microbial DNA).
Researchers at the University of Leeds may have uncovered new clues to the origins of life on Earth with the discovery of a compound known as pyrophosphite, which may have been an important energy source for primitive lifeforms.
There are several conflicting theories of how life on Earth emerged from inanimate matter billions of years ago — a process known as abiogenesis.
“It’s a chicken and egg question,” said Dr Terry Kee of the University of Leeds, who led the research. “Scientists are in disagreement over what came first — replication, or metabolism. But there is a third part to the equation, and that is energy.”
All living things require a continual supply of energy in order to function. This energy is carried around our bodies within certain molecules, one of the best known being ATP*, which converts heat from the sun into a useable form for animals and plants…. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by physicsgg

June 6, 2011 at 11:33 pm