Scientists May Have Figured Out How Life on Earth Began

Allison Loudermilk

Scientists have taken a potentially monumental step in figuring out how life began on Earth. We've always known that life had to emerge somehow from the soup of chemicals that constituted the early days on our planet, but scientists were never quite sure how that happened. After all, it's not that easy to create life from purely chemical means. Or so we thought until now. But University of Manchester researchers seem to have given it a good shake.

According to a study published online today in Nature, the chemists untangled a set of chemical reactions that could have led to the synthesis of RNA, or ribonucleic acid. So what? Well, there's this thing called the RNA world hypothesis that scientists have been kicking around for a few decades, according to Solmaz Barazesh's story in Science News. And in this theory, RNA-based life forms are the superstars who started it all, the reason why you're sitting at your computer right now reading this story. Quit hogging the headlines, DNA. It's RNA's time to shine.

Want to know something else cool? Wired reports that the same chemicals that the University of Manchester researchers used to synthesize RNA have been found in interstellar dust clouds and meteorites. It seems like that could bode well for life on other planets.

And that's your mind-blowing science for the day. Thoughts? Hungry for more? Head to the home page or get lost more in cool science:

How DNA Works How Evolution Works How Charles Darwin Worked