June 24, 2024

Printed 22 November 2023


From David Baxter, Greenhithe, Kent, UK

When contemplating the origin of life on Earth, word that all of it runs on the identical energy system of ion gradients throughout a membrane. As that is common, it should date again to a common widespread ancestor (4 November, p 36).

How may such a system have developed on early Earth with solely water, rocks, hydrogen and carbon dioxide to work with? The logical reply is that life arose the place there was a pure ion gradient that might be exploited and alkaline hydrothermal vents, which you briefly contact on, are that place. Exploration of this concept has led to plenty of work, significantly by teams in Europe, which have produced a big physique of biochemically sound literature.

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