The development of complex life on Earth has always been a controversial subject, but a new study from the South African Wits University sought to explain why the creatures here on Earth appear to be the only complex creatures in the known universe.
This latest research proposes that the development of life on Earth came about thanks to of a chance coupling of molecules. These are believed to have begun the development of life on Earth and opened the way towards to the appearance of the human race.
Self-Replication, a Stepping Stone to Complex Life
Pierre Durand, part of the Evolution of Complexity Laboratory of the Evolutionary Studies Institute at Wits University, considers that his department has managed to uncover one of the starting points of complex life on Earth. One of the existing theories advanced the self-replication of small molecules as being a potential variant.
Self-replication and the initial binding process of small molecules have so far remained a mystery in discussions and research about the origins of life. However, this new study believed to have the key to unlocking them.
A process known as ligation proposes that multicellular life might have begun when enzymes allowed an initial chance coupling to take place. Thanks to it, the smallest coupled forms of life were given the opportunity to grow larger and self-replicate. This might have then contributed to the appearance of life in its earliest forms. Durand has described molecular trade-offs as the core roots of life on Earth.
“Something needed to happen for molecules to reproduce, and thereby starting life as we know it. That something turned out to be the simple ligation of a set of small molecules, billions of years ago,” states the researcher.
This study from Wits University is just the first step in developing a deeper understanding of how a chance coupling helped lead to the development of life on Earth. More research is still needed before a final conclusion can be drawn. Still, some consider that, if this latest research will be backed up by other studies, a greater understanding of the dawn of life and the evolutionary process may become available to all.
Current findings are available in a paper in the Royal Society Publishing’s Royal Society Open Science.
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