A constituent “Missing Link” A mystery explainsorigin life in earth

New constituent “Missing Link” A mystery that explains the origin of life in earth

11:59 AM, 13th November 2017
A constituent “Missing Link” A mystery that explains the origin of life in earth

One of the furthermost mystery that have confronted by the scientists in recent times is how it is probable for chemical structures to become biological systems. Scientists have many theories regarding how chemistry eventually turned into biology, but no conclusive theories.  A new study published in the journal Nature Chemistry may have succeeded in identifying a critical compound for the transition between chemistry to biology that was responsible for the beginning of life, a “missing link” in the study of chemistry.

Researchers of the origin of life at The Scripps Research Institute have identified a compound that could have played a critical role in the origination of all life. The compound is referred to as “diamidophosphate” or DAP.

What Role Does DAP Play?

It is known that the backbone of all life in organic chemistry on Earth is carbon, but carbon could not by itself have created the vast variety of life we see on the Earth today. Carbon needed the assistance of another element on the periodic table, phosphorus.

Researchers of the origins of life speculate that a chemical reaction known as phosphorylation was necessary for the coalescence of three different key ingredients found in early forms of life. These ingredients are nucleotides such as DNA and RNA which store genetic information, lipids which congregate together to form structures like cell walls, and amino acids or peptides which carry out the main function of cells.

However, despite phosphorylation playing such a key role in the formation of early life, no one had ever managed to find a phosphorylating agent that could have successfully created the three different molecules necessary for life under realistic conditions and was also present upon the early Earth. The discovery of DAP marks the discovery of a phosphorylated agent capable of fulfilling all criteria. It could just be the compound responsible for giving rise to early life.

“We suggest a phosphorylation chemistry that could have given rise, all in the same place, to oligonucleotides, oligopeptides, and the cell-like structures to enclose them,” said Ramanarayanan Krishnamurthy, associate professor of chemistry at TSRI and the study’s senior author.

DAP’s ability to enable these building blocks allowed the creation of other chemical structures that were possible prior to its intervention. This could have easily led to the rise of the first simplistic cell-based organisms.

How DAP Functions

DAP needed a catalyst to start off the process of phosphorylation. Imidazole is a compound that is incorporated into the various biological molecules, and it is the most prevalent amino acid histidine overall. It plays a key role in the formation of many enzymes and proteins.

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