Hydrogen peroxide was the vital ingredient in rock pores around underwater heat vents that set in train a sequence of chemical reactions that led to the first forms of life, according to lead researcher Rowena Ball from the Australian National University (ANU).
“The origin of life is one of the hardest problems in all of science, but it is also one of the most important,” said Ball, from the ANU.
Researchers made a model using hydrogen peroxide and porous rock that simulated the dynamic, messy environment that hosted the origin of life.
“Hydrogen peroxide played multiple roles in the emergence of living systems, and this study investigated how it ensured the randomly fluctuating temperatures and pH levels necessary to energise the production of a chemical world that made life on Earth possible,” she said.
The study, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science provides new and valuable guidelines in the search for extraterrestrial life.
“Our simulations reveal the importance of long rock pores or lengthy, interconnected porous structures in enabling the creation of long, large molecules,” Ball added.
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