The origin of life occurred on land

Environments on either volcanic islands or early continents have been proposed as the location of the origin of life on Earth.

The origin of life occurred in a marine environment

Deep sea hydrothermal vents and other marine environments have been proposed as the location of the origin of life on Earth.
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Mark Ditzler   Subscribe ...


Advantages and challenges to forming life on land or in the ocean


Wet dry-cycles that occur on land can drive the formation of polymers

eWet-dry cycles promote the formation of depsipeptides

eWet-dry cycles in hot (85 °C), salty environments promote RNA polymerization


Simulated hydrothermal vents can promote polymerization

eOligomers up to 4 units are formed in simulated hydrothermal vents


Meteoritic delivery of RNA building blocks to ponds

eMeteorites delivered nucleobases to thousands of ponds during the Hadean


Formation of vesicle membranes occurs in freshwater not seawater

eFatty acids readily form membranous vesicles when dispersed in freshwater, but do cannot do so in the high ionic concentrations of seawater


Wet-dry cycles provide a mechanism for natural selection of encapsulated RNA ribozymes

eA model is proposed to explain how wet-dry cycling can lead to self-replicating polymers


There is no evidence of inorganic membranes holding sharp proton gradients in modern hydrothemal vents

eThere is no evidence for steep proton gradients across inorganic membranes in modern hydrothermal vents


The vent–ocean interface posesses the natural proton gradient needed for ATP synthesis

ePhylogenetics suggest LUCA did not have its own proton-pumps, suggesting it may have needed the pH gradient of hydrothermal vents