Enzymes, precursors of life?

1990/06/01 Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

American chemists have produced electric shocks in a gas distribution vessel from the primitive Earth atmosphere and synthesized small protein-like molecules. They say these molecules act as biological enzymes.

It is an interesting and important discovery. And before life appears, it suggests that there were molecules in the form of enzymes. Therefore, living cells only refined the chemical processes that existed previously.

This statement was made by chemist Cyril Ponnamperuma of the University of Maryland at the meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Simulating conditions on Earth 4 billion years ago, Ponnamperuma and his co-workers have produced electric shocks in a mixture of methane, nitrogen and water. There have been eleven similar sessions in the last 40 years and the most famous is the one conducted by Urey in the 1950s.

Ponnamperum and his colleagues have synthesized 5-10 amino acid polymer chains. When these polymers have studied whether they can work as enzymes, some of them are able to reduce the cytochrome C involved in breathing.

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