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The Molecular Origins of Life : Assembling Pieces of the Puzzle - Andri Brack

The Molecular Origins of Life

Assembling Pieces of the Puzzle

By: Andri Brack (Editor)

Paperback Published: 3rd May 1999
ISBN: 9780521564755
Number Of Pages: 428

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The origin of life was probably the result of a singular event in the Earth's history, and reconstructing this event is like assembling a puzzle made up of many pieces. These pieces are composed of information acquired from many different disciplines. The aim of this book is to integrate the most recent discoveries in astronomy, planetology, paleontology, biology and chemistry, and use this knowledge to present plausible scenarios that give us a better understanding of the likely origin of life on Earth. Eighteen experts contribute chapters that discuss everything from the environment and atmosphere of the early Earth, to the appearance of organic molecules in the prebiotic environment, to primitive chiral chemical systems capable of self-replication and evolution by mutation. The book also discusses various clues to the origin of life that can be obtained by a study of the past and present microbial world, as well as from other planets.

'Every chapter in this book is relevant and interesting ... a 'must' for the departmental library.' Dorian Pritchard, British Society for Developmental Biology

Contributorsp. vii
Introductionp. 1
Setting the stagep. 11
The origin of the atmospherep. 13
The early atmosphere as a source of biogenic compoundsp. 35
Organic molecules on the early Earthp. 57
The endogenous synthesis of organic compoundsp. 59
Hydrothermal systemsp. 86
Cosmic origin of the biospherep. 100
Clues from the origin of the Solar System: meteoritesp. 119
Micrometeorites on the early Earthp. 147
Possible starts for primitive lifep. 187
Membrane compartments in prebiotic evolutionp. 189
Origin of life in an iron--sulfur worldp. 206
Clues from present-day biology: the thioester worldp. 219
Origins of the RNA worldp. 237
Catalyzed RNA synthesis for the RNA worldp. 255
Catalysis in the RNA worldp. 269
Self-replication and autocatalysisp. 295
Clues from the bacterial worldp. 313
Hyperthermophiles and their possible role as ancestors of modern lifep. 315
Tracing the roots of the Universal Tree of Lifep. 336
Clues from other planetsp. 363
Titanp. 365
Life on Marsp. 386
Conclusionp. 407
Indexp. 413
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521564755
ISBN-10: 0521564751
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 428
Published: 3rd May 1999
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2  x 2.2
Weight (kg): 0.67