Biophysical Journal: hypothesized the origin of precellular structures in clay
Scientists at the University of California put forward a hypothesis according to which primitive life, which existed in the form of pre-cellular structures, originated in micaceous clay. This is reported in the article published in the Biophysical Journal.
The researchers studied samples of micaceous clays using atomic force microscopy and found that they are a substrate for the formation of biopolymers such as DNA and peptides. The presence of potassium ions in clays is another argument in favor of the new hypothesis, since the cells of living things have high concentrations of potassium.
The source of chemical energy for the formation of chains of amino acids or nucleotides could be sunlight, as well as the mechanical interaction of mica sheets with water flows. The mechanical energy of the mica plates drove early prebiotic processes such as the formation of covalent bonds, the interaction of molecular complexes, and the budding of protocells before the molecular mechanism of cell division had developed.
Formerly scientists of the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution demonstratedthat ribonucleic acid (RNA), thought to be the immediate precursor of the first living cells, could spontaneously form on the surface of basalt glass.