Missing Link Found? Study Reveals Potential Hot Spring Birthplace of Early Life

January 16, 2024

The team’s discovery involves the creation of organic molecules, including long-chain fatty acids, crucial components of early cell membranes. Fatty acids are lengthy organic molecules with regions that both attract and repel water, naturally forming cell-like compartments in water. However, the origin of these fatty acids in life’s early stages remained a mystery. The study indicates that the interaction of hydrogen-rich fluids from alkaline hydrothermal vents with bicarbonate-rich waters on iron-based minerals could have precipitated the formation of early cell membranes. (credit: NASA/JPL/JUNO)This study not only provides insights into the genesis of life on Earth but also opens avenues for understanding the potential for life elsewhere in the universe.