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Proceedings Paper

Pre-biotic organic synthesis: laboratory simulation experiments and their significance for the origin of life in the solar system
Author(s): Michael H. Engel
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Paper Abstract

It is commonly assumed that the origin of life on Earth and perhaps elsewhere in the solar system was preceded by the synthesis and accumulation of organic compounds essential for life as we know it (e.g. amino acids, sugars, purines, pyrimidines, etc.) by non-biological processes. Over the past century, laboratory simulation experiments using a variety of inorganic precursors and energy sources have resulted in the synthesis of some, but not all of the compounds required for life. More importantly, the mechanisms by which these simple organic compounds initially combined to form the more complex structures (proteins, nucleic acids, etc.) upon which all life is based remain elusive. Here we report a summary of the progress to date concerning pathways for the pre-biotic synthesis of organic matter and their significance for the origin of life in the solar system.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 September 2011
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 8152, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XIV, 815208 (23 September 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.890456
Show Author Affiliations
Michael H. Engel, The Univ. of Oklahoma (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8152:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XIV
Richard B. Hoover; Paul C. W. Davies; Gilbert V. Levin; Alexei Yu. Rozanov, Editor(s)

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