Société Française d'Exobiologie

Conditions for the emergence of life on the early Earth

Un ouvrage édité par Charles Cockell, Sydney Leach et Ian Smith. Une offre spéciale de tarif.

Special offer price : £45/US$80 (usual price : £125/US$231)

Living entities exhibit the three fundamental characteristics of metabolism, growth and reproduction, and are capable of evolutionary adaptation to their environment. Understanding how life, having these characteristics, emerged on Earth within 1 billion years of its formation is both a fascinating scientific problem and a pre-requisite for predicting the presence of life elsewhere in the universe. The origins of the biotic raw materials, the physical and chemical conditions on the early Earth permitting development – first to primitive life forms and subsequently to more complex forms of life – were all subjects for lively debate at the Discussion meeting from which this publication derives. Recent advances in several areas were reported, including possible new modes of formation of cellular structures, new metabolic and self-assembly processes, and tests of Darwin’s conjecture that life might have started in a warm little pond. The publication demonstrates the mutual dependence of the wide range of subjects discussed and, by highlighting unsolved problems, new avenues of research are suggested.

Introduction : conditions for the emergence of life on the early Earth
S Leach, IWM Smith and CS Cockell

The prebiotic molecules observed in the interstellar gas P Thaddeus Prebiotic materials from on and off the early Earth
M Bernstein
The carbon cycle on early Earth – and on Mars ? MM Grady and I Wright
Searching for signatures of life on Mars : an Fe-isotope perspective
M Anand, SS Russell, RL Blackhurst and MM Grady
Physical conditions on the early Earth
JI Lunine
Atmospheric composition and climate on the early Earth
JF Kasting and M Tazewell Howard
Phosphorus in prebiotic chemistry
AW Schwartz
Transcription and translation in an RNA world
WR Taylor
The origin of replicators and reproducers
E Szathmáry
Montmorillonite-catalysed formation of RNA oligomers : the possible role of catalysis in the origins of life
JP Ferris
From volcanic origins of chemoautotrophic life to Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya
G Wächtershäuser
Self-assembly processes in the prebiotic environment
D Deamer, S Singaram, S Rajamani, V Kompanichenko and S Guggenheim
Early anaerobic metabolisms
DE Canfield, MT Rosing and C Bjerrum
Hyperthermophiles in the history of life
KO Stetter
The origin and emergence of life under impact bombardment
CS Cockell
Implications of a 3.472-3.333Gyr-old subaerial microbial mat from the Barberton greenstone belt, South Africa for the UV environmental conditions on the early Earth
F Westall, CEJ de Ronde, G Southam, N Grassineau, M Colas, C Cockell and H Lammer
Conditions for the emergence of life on the early Earth : summary and reflections
J Jortner

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