[Funded by the Origins Center]
Researchers have strong indications that life originated deep in the ocean nearly four billion years ago. The early Earth was a world with a lot of energy that needed to dissipate. The origin of life is probably the result of energetic imbalances, just like many phenomena in nature.
We built a simulator in which we simulate the high pressure and high temperature at subsea hot springs (hydrothermal vents) in the earliest Hadean era.
The current disconnect between inanimate chemistry and a basic version of biochemistry is perhaps the biggest problem of research into the origin of life. Using this simulator, researchers hope to mimic the emergence of a first form of metabolism. This will help them to link inanimate chemistry with biochemistry.
The project is carried out within the research groups of Mariëtte Wolthers, Helen King, Oliver Plümper, Paul Mason and Inge Loes ten Kate of Utrecht University and Sijbren Otto of the University of Groningen.
Principal investigator is Eloi Camprubí-Casas.d