Cover image for The molecular origins of life : assembling pieces of the puzzle
Title:
The molecular origins of life : assembling pieces of the puzzle
Author:
Brack, A. (André)
Publication Information:
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, [1998]

©1998
Physical Description:
viii, 417 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Contents:
The origin of the atmosphere / Tobias C. Owen -- The early atmosphere as a source of biogenic compounds / James F. Kasting and Lisa L. Brown -- The endogenous synthesis of organic compounds / Stanley L. Miller -- Hydrothermal systems / Nils G. Holm and Eva M. Andersson -- Cosmic origin of the biosphere / Armand H. Delsemme -- Clues from the origin of the Solar System: meteorites / John R. Cronin -- Micrometeorites on the early Earth / Michel Maurette -- Membrane compartments in prebiotic evolution / David W. Deamer -- Origin of life in an iron-sulfur world / Günter Wächtershäuser -- Clues from present-day biology: the thioester world / Christian de Duve -- Origins of the RNA world / Alan W. Schwartz -- Catalyzed RNA synthesis for the RNA world / James P. Ferris -- Catalysis in the RNA world / Kenneth D. James and Andrew D. Ellington -- Self-replication and autocatalysis / Jens Burmeister -- Hyperthermophiles and their possible role as ancestors of modern life / Karl O. Stetter -- Tracing the roots of the universal tree of life / J. William Schopf -- Titan / François Raulin -- Life on Mars / Christopher P. McKay.
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780521564120

9780521564755
Format :
Book

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Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library QH325 .M64 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

The origin of life was an event probably unique 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 1999 book is to integrate discoveries in astronomy, planetology, palaeontology, 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. Twenty-three top experts contribute chapters that discuss everything from the environment and atmosphere of the early Earth, through 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 Saturn's moon Titan and the planet Mars. Chemists, biologists, earth scientists, and astronomers will find this book a thought-provoking summary of our knowledge of this extraordinary event.


Reviews 1

Choice Review

Editor Brack (Centre de Biophysique Moleculaire, Orleans, France) has assembled a volume that examines the most central question in biology, the origin of life at the molecular level. A team of 22 international scholars has contributed diverse chapters that discuss "everything from the environment and atmosphere of the early Earth, through the appearance of organic molecules in the prebiotic environment, to primitive chiral systems capable of self-replication and evolution by mutation." There are both familiar data and new perspectives in these provocative discussions. Readers will undoubtedly enjoy the culminating chapters that discuss the clues to the origin of life obtained from the study of modern bacterial cells, and from observation of Titan, Saturn's largest satellite (". . . prebiotic laboratory on a planetary scale") and Mars (Viking results, ecological comparisons with planet Earth, and the analysis of Martian meteorites). This book is well edited with an even readership level and style. It is an entertaining volume yet contains excellent informative science. The Molecular Origins of Life would be the perfect catalyst for an undergraduate or graduate seminar, as a resource volume, or as an excellent choice as reading for an evolution course. Undergraduates through professionals. J. L. Ninnemann Central Washington University


Table of Contents

Andre BrackTobias C. OwenJames F. Kasting and Lisa L. BrownStanley L. MillerNils G. Holm and Eva M. AnderssonArmand H. DelsemmeJohn R. CroninMichel MauretteDavid W. DeamerGunter WachtershauserChristian de DuveAlan W. SchwartzJames P. FerrisKenneth D. James and Andrew D. EllingtonJens BurmeisterKarl O. StetterJ. William SchopfFrancois RaulinChristopher P. McKayAndre Brack
Contributorsp. vii
Introductionp. 1
Part I. Setting the stagep. 11
1. The origin of the atmospherep. 13
2. The early atmosphere as a source of biogenic compoundsp. 35
Part II. Organic molecules on the early Earthp. 57
3. The endogenous synthesis of organic compoundsp. 59
4. Hydrothermal systemsp. 86
5. Cosmic origin of the biospherep. 100
6. Clues from the origin of the Solar System: meteoritesp. 119
7. Micrometeorites on the early Earthp. 147
Part III. Possible starts for primitive lifep. 187
8. Membrane compartments in prebiotic evolutionp. 189
9. Origin of life in an iron--sulfur worldp. 206
10. Clues from present-day biology: the thioester worldp. 219
11. Origins of the RNA worldp. 237
12. Catalyzed RNA synthesis for the RNA worldp. 255
13. Catalysis in the RNA worldp. 269
14. Self-replication and autocatalysisp. 295
Part IV. Clues from the bacterial worldp. 313
15. Hyperthermophiles and their possible role as ancestors of modern lifep. 315
16. Tracing the roots of the Universal Tree of Lifep. 336
Part V. Clues from other planetsp. 363
17. Titanp. 365
18. Life on Marsp. 386
Conclusionp. 407
Indexp. 413

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