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The toaster oven origin of life theory

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From Nautilus:

The Dawn of Life in a $5 Toaster Oven

God might just as well have begun with a toaster oven. A few years ago at a yard sale, Nicholas Hud spotted a good candidate: A vintage General Electric model, chrome-plated with wood-grain panels, nestled in an old yellowed box, practically unused. The perfect appliance for cooking up the chemical precursors of life, he thought. He bought it for $5.

Trivia: In Canada, he could have got it “As Is” for $2.

At home in his basement, with the help of his college-age son, he cut a rectangular hole in the oven’s backside, through which an automated sliding table (recycled from an old document scanner) could move a tray of experiments in and out. He then attached a syringe pump to some inkjet printer parts, and rigged the system to periodically drip water onto the tray.

Today the contraption sits atop a workbench in Hud’s laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he directs the Center for Chemical Evolution, a multi-university consortium funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation. For the past two decades, he has been hunting for the chemical recipes that could explain how life arose on Earth. When scientists began investigating life’s molecular origin in the 1950s, they assumed that the first biological molecules formed spontaneously from a soup of primordial compounds: a lucky marriage of the right ingredients, under the right conditions, at the right time. Hud and his colleagues are now finding that the spark of life may have struck much more gradually, not by chance but via a long chemical evolution.

Yes, we’ve always hoped to find that. But if it was this simple, why isn’t it happening all the time on Earth, favoured for such ventures? Why is Pasteur still right? All life comes from prior life (omne vivum ex vivo)?

If Hud’s team can cycle their way from monomers to catalysts, says Robert Hazen, a mineralogist at the Carnegie Institution, “that would clearly be the mechanism to beat.” The engine for life and evolution could then be, as Hud says, as simple as “a planet spinning in front of a star.” More.

There is a taxpayer born every minute in some places.

See Why origin of life studies are stalled.

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6 Replies to “The toaster oven origin of life theory

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    News, the too often unacknowledged suppression of the significance of functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information [a descriptive phrase, FSCO/I for short] for origin and body plan level diversity of life is an error at the beginning that leads to a continent wide gap between OOL speculation and the realities of observed life. Meyer’s Signature in the Cell and Darwin’s Doubt need to be read and pondered. For our own case Gauger and Axe on origin of the human body plan and its implications also need to be pondered. But, we can expect the usual distractive, distorting and dismissive talking points in 3, 2, 1, . . . KF

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: The programmed, tightly regulated, co-ordinated unfolding of the body plan of a bird:

  3. 3
  4. 4
    George E. says:

    The OOL debate is over. The Darwinists have lost. There is no scientific thesis more certain than that life was intelligently designed. Compared to ID, the theory of gravity is debatable. This is reality. The scientific community, therefore, can either choose to face it, or devote their lives and careers to incoherent babbling. Alas, the majority has chosen the latter course.

  5. 5
    Mung says:

    No codes, no life. Chemicals are not codes.

  6. 6
    Mung says:

    Meanwhile, over at The Skeptical Zone, they pride themselves on not knowing what a body plan is. No body plan, nothing to explain. See how easy that was?

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