Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
In Search of Cell HistoryThe Evolution of Life's Building Blocks$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Franklin M. Harold

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226174143

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226174310.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 17 January 2022

Ultimate Riddle

Ultimate Riddle

Origin of Cellular Life

Chapter:
(p.164) Chapter Ten Ultimate Riddle
Source:
In Search of Cell History
Author(s):

Franklin M. Harold

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226174310.003.0010

In all of biology, there is no more consequential problem than the origin of life; yet despite the expenditure of much effort and ink over the past seventy years a satisfactory answer continues to elude us. This chapter surveys the huge body of experimental and theoretical work on this problem. Topics include the primordial broth of abiotic chemicals, prebiotic synthesis of metabolites, the quest for a self-replicating ribozyme, the critical importance of energy coupling, self-organized metabolic cycles, why membranes are essential, and the importance of natural selection from the outset. The recent idea, that life arose in the interstices of mineral deposits at the margins of warm alkaline hydrothermal vents, receives special attention. Between the first proto-cells and the Last Universal Common Ancestor, all the machinery of life must have been invented. We consider the place of the RNA World, and the horrendous difficulty of envisaging the origin of translation. In the end, the origin of life remains a mystery that passes understanding.

Keywords:   origin of life, prebiotic synthesis, energy coupling, hydrothermal vents, ribozymes, replication, translation, RNA world

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.