Abiogenesis: is it reproducible?

B. A.

I read www.evolutionfaq.com's article titled "The Probability of Life". It spoke about how abiogenesis is a process with many(many) incremental steps, the start of which was a self-replicating peptide. One argument for creationists is that the first steps of evolution can't be reproduced experimentally. As I understand one version of this argument focuses around Chirality of organic molecules necessary for life as it exists today.  With that in mind, can scientists reproduce the conditions of earth where abiogenesis began and succesfully create these self-replicating peptides?


To answer your question, yes, experiments have been performed which simulate what were believed to be the conditions of the early Earth, to create the precursors to life.

The most famous experiment was performed in the 1950's:

This simple experiment was able to synthesize amino acids from the chemicals believed to be present in the prebiotic Earth.

It however, did not create self-replicating peptides.  Unfortunately, this step has not been fully understood yet, as there are no fossils we can rely on. However, scientists have been very successful at creating other precursors of life, from conditions of the prebiotic Earth.  For example, scientists in 2009 created self-replicating molecules from chemicals believed to have existed on the early earth: http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/News/2009/January/09010901.asp

I will also say, without diving into too many technical details, that researchers have discovered many, many promising leads to how the first molecules of life formed naturally.  For example, how RNA nucleotides formed naturally.

As of the time of this writing, however, scientists do not feel like they can confidently prove exactly what was the first self-replicating molecule, or the exact steps needed to create it.  Though, it appears to me that the answers are getting closer every year.

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