Some of the most uncommon Origins of Life hypotheses

This was hard to pick because it is difficult to determine which origins of life hypotheses are the most uncommon, as different theories have varying levels of acceptance within the scientific community. Here are a few examples of origins of life hypotheses that are less well-known or less widely accepted:

  1. Panspermia: The theory of panspermia proposes that life on Earth originated from seeds of life that were transported to our planet through comets, meteorites, or other means. According to this theory, life may have originated elsewhere in the universe and was then transported to Earth, where it could thrive and evolve. There are many versions of this; you can read ours here: the journal version and the arxiv version.
  2. Directed panspermia: The theory of directed panspermia proposes that life on Earth was intentionally seeded by an intelligent extraterrestrial civilization. This theory is considered less likely than the common panspermia, as it requires the existence of an advanced extraterrestrial civilization capable of sending life to other planets. This can still be true if we–as us humans–are the advanced extraterrestrial civilization that might someday seed life on another planet, i.e., human-directed Panspermia.
  3. Origin of life in ice: Some scientists have proposed that life may have originated in ice rather than in a liquid environment such as water. According to this theory, ice’s structural and chemical properties may have facilitated the synthesis of complex organic molecules and the emergence of life.
  4. Origin of life through quantum mechanics: A few scientists have proposed that the origins of life may be related to the principles of quantum mechanics, which govern the behavior of subatomic
Comet Asteroid Land Meteor Tail Meteorite Drop

What are the most popular Origins of Life narratives?

There are many different theories and hypotheses about the origins of life, and the specific mechanisms responsible for the emergence of life are still not fully understood. However, some origins of life hypotheses are more widely accepted or popular than others.

One of the most widely accepted hypotheses about the origins of life is the RNA world hypothesis. This theory proposes that RNA, a molecule that plays a central role in the synthesis and regulation of proteins, was the first form of genetic material and the precursor to DNA. According to this theory, RNA may have been able to replicate and evolve on its own, leading to the emergence of more complex life forms.

Another widely accepted hypothesis about the origins of life is the metabolic theory of the origin of life. This theory proposes that the first living organisms were simple metabolic systems that could extract energy from their environment and use it to synthesize complex organic molecules. According to this theory, the emergence of life resulted from a series of chemical reactions that occurred in the presence of energy sources such as UV radiation or lightning.

Overall, the origins of life are a complex and ongoing area of scientific research, and there are many different hypotheses about the specific mechanisms responsible for the emergence of life on Earth.

How to study the Origins of Life?

How do scientists study and gain new knowledge about our biological past?

There are many different approaches that scientists use to study the origins of life. Here are a few examples:

  1. Experimental simulations (what I do): Scientists can conduct experiments to simulate the conditions that may have existed on early Earth and study the chemical reactions that may have led to the emergence of life. These experiments can be conducted in the laboratory using various techniques, such as chemical synthesis or irradiation with UV radiation.
  2. Analysis of meteorites and comets (what I like): Scientists can study meteorites and comets to understand the types of chemical reactions that may have occurred in the early solar system and to search for evidence of the building blocks of life.
  3. Astrobiological exploration (what I am curious about): Scientists can explore other planets and moons in our solar system and beyond to search for evidence of past or present life and understand the conditions necessary for life to emerge and evolve. For example, the recent James Webb Space Telescope.
  4. Theoretical modeling (what I can’t do): Scientists can use computer simulations and mathematical models to understand the conditions and processes that may have been necessary for the emergence of life on Earth and to test different hypotheses about the origins of life.

Overall, the study of the origins of life is a multidisciplinary field that combines elements of biology, chemistry, physics, and other scientific disciplines to understand the conditions and processes necessary for the emergence of life on Earth.

Carl Sagan: Brief Biography

A brief history of the world’s first Astrobiologist

Carl Sagan was an American astronomer, cosmologist, and astrobiologist. He was born in New York City in 1934 and received his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Chicago. He later earned his Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Sagan is best known for his work as a science popularizer and communicator. He wrote numerous books and articles on science, and he was also a frequent guest on television programs, where he discussed scientific topics in a way that was accessible to a general audience. His most famous work is probably the television series “Cosmos,” which he wrote and hosted, and which aired in 1980. The series was hugely popular and has been credited with inspiring a new generation of scientists and explorers.

Sagan’s research focused on the search for extraterrestrial life and the conditions necessary for its emergence and evolution. He was a leading astrobiology figure and significantly contributed to our understanding of the potential for life on other planets. He was also a vocal advocate for the importance of science and the need to invest in scientific research and education.

Sagan died in 1996 at 62, but his legacy as a scientist and science popularizer remains. He remains one of the most influential and well-known figures in astronomy and astrobiology.

Famous Astrobiologist you should know.

Identifying the top three astrobiologists was difficult, as many researchers have made significant contributions to the field. Here are my top three big names who have made significant contributions to the field and are widely recognized for their work:

  1. Carl Sagan was an astronomer, cosmologist, and astrobiologist known for his popular science writing and work on the search for extraterrestrial life. He was the co-author of the book “Intelligent Life in the Universe,” considered a classic in astrobiology.
  2. Lynn Margulis was a microbiologist and evolutionary theorist. She is known for her work on the endosymbiotic theory, which proposes that the eukaryotic cell, the type of cell that makes up most “evolved” life on Earth, evolved through the integration of multiple simpler cells. For example, a tiny energy-harvesting bacteria could have entered another bacteria for protection while giving its host bacteria the ability to harness energy. Over time, this energy-harvesting bacteria became the organalle, mitocondria.
  3. Christopher McKay is an astrobiologist who has significantly contributed to our understanding of the potential for life on other planets. He has researched Mars’s habitability and has played a leading role in the search for microbial life on the planet.

How does Astrobiology Contribute to Humanity

Why should you care about Astrobiology?

Astrobiology has the potential to contribute to humanity in several ways. Some of how astrobiology may contribute to society include:

  1. Advancing our understanding of the origins and evolution of life: Astrobiology research helps deepen our understanding of the origins and evolution of life on Earth and the conditions necessary for this to occur. This knowledge can help us to better understand the processes that have shaped the evolution of life on our planet. It may also provide insights into the potential for the emergence of life elsewhere in the universe.
  2. Searching for life beyond Earth: Astrobiology research involves the search for signs of life on other planets and moons within our own solar system and beyond. The discovery of extraterrestrial life, whether microbial or more complex, could have significant implications for our understanding of the universe and our place within it.
  3. Developing new technologies: The search for life beyond Earth often requires the development of new technologies and techniques, such as advanced telescopes and spacecraft. These technologies can also have applications beyond astrobiology, potentially leading to new innovations and developments in other fields.
  4. Inspiring the public: Astrobiology research has the potential to inspire and engage the public, particularly younger generations, in science and exploration. The search for life beyond Earth has long captured the imagination of people around the world, and the potential for the discovery of extraterrestrial life could inspire a new generation of scientists and explorers.

Overall, astrobiology has the potential to contribute to humanity in many ways, from advancing our understanding of the universe and our place within it to inspiring the public and driving technological advancements.

What is Astrobiology?

Astrobiology studies the origins, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe. It is a multidisciplinary field that combines elements of astronomy, biology, chemistry, and other scientific disciplines to understand the conditions under which life arises and evolves and the potential for the existence of life beyond Earth.

Astrobiology research includes searching for habitable, habitable, or habitable life on other planets and moons within our own solar system and beyond, as well as studying the conditions on these bodies that might support life. It also involves investigating the chemical and physical processes that may have led to the emergence of life on Earth and the conditions necessary for this to occur.

Astrobiology also encompasses the study of the potential for the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence or the search for intelligent life beyond Earth. This involves the search for signs of technologically advanced civilizations, such as radio signals or other evidence of their presence.

Overall, astrobiology is a broad and rapidly-growing field that is helping to answer fundamental questions about the nature of life and the possibility of its existence elsewhere in the universe.

Prebiotic Membraneless Structures as a way towards Cellurarity

Originally title: Droplets of these simple molecules may have helped kick-start life on Earth from Carmen Drahl ( 

droplets pics

For the origin of life on Earth, ancient puddles or coastlines may have had a major ripple effect.

A new study shows that a simple class of molecules called alpha hydroxy acids forms microdroplets when dried and rewetted, as could have taken place at the edges of water sources. These cell-sized compartments can trap RNA, and can merge and break apart — behavior that could have encouraged inanimate molecules in the primordial soup to give rise to life, researchers report July 22 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Besides giving clues to how life may have gotten started on the planet, the work might have additional applications in both medicine and the search for extraterrestrial life.

Present-day biology relies on cells to concentrate nutrients and protect genetic information, so many scientists think that compartments could have been important for life to begin. But no one knows whether the first microenclosures on Earth were related to modern cells.

“The early Earth was certainly a messy place chemically,” with nonbiological molecules such as alpha hydroxy acids potentially having roles in the emergence of life alongside biomolecules like RNA and their precursors, says biochemist Tony Jia of Tokyo Institute of Technology’s Earth-Life Science Institute.

Jia’s team focused on mixtures of alpha hydroxy acids, some of which are common in skin-care cosmetics. Though not as prominent as their chemical relatives amino acids, alpha hydroxy acids are plausible players in origin-of-life happenings because they frequently show up in meteorites as well as in experiments mimicking early Earth chemistry.

In 2018, a team led by geochemists Kuhan Chandru of the Earth-Life Science Institute and the National University of Malaysia at Bangi and H. James Cleaves, also of the Earth-Life Science Institute, demonstrated that, just though drying, alpha hydroxy acids form repeating chains of molecules called polymers. In the new study, the pair along with Jia and their colleagues found that rewetting the polymers led to the formation of microdroplets about the same diameter as modern red blood cells or cheek cells.

Prior studies have shown that simple molecules can form droplets(SN: 4/15/17, p. 11).  The new work goes further in showing “that possibly prebiotically relevant molecules can form droplets,” says artificial cell expert Dora Tang of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, who wasn’t involved with the work.

In the lab, the team demonstrated that the droplets could trap and host molecules essential to life as we know it, such as RNA. The researchers also observed that a protein retained its function within the droplets and that fatty acids could assemble around the droplets.

Still, those findings don’t mean the microdroplets were Earth’s first cells or ancestors of them, Chandru cautions. Instead, he suggests that the droplets could have helped reactions along in emerging biochemical systems in the lead-up to the origin of life.

Though the team’s focus is origin-of-life studies, Jia points out that these microdroplets could potentially be engineered to deliver medications. The researchers note in their study that they may apply for a patent related to the work within the next year but have not specified an application.

The new research may also hold an important lesson for the search for extraterrestrial life (SN: 4/30/16, p. 28). “We need to not only focus on detection of modern biomolecules and their precursors, but also other relevant nonbiomolecules” that, like alpha hydroxy acids, might have played supporting roles in the emergence of life, on Earth or elsewhere, Jia says.


Click here for the source article

Click here for Original paper

The missing years (2016-2019)

STEM school



Since 2016, I’ve been busy and didn’t really find the time to blog here. So here is a brief summary of what has happened thus far:

  • Got a couple of papers published:
  • Got appointed at two places:
  • Gave a couple of Science Talks
    • Invited Talk – Faculty of Science and Technology, UKM Bangi, Malaysia (March 2019)- “Mother of all questions- Origins of Life”
    • Invited Talk – University of Duisburg-Essen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany (October 2018)- “Using non-standard biomolecules to elucidate the Origins of Life”
    • Contributed Talk  – Interdisciplinary Origins of Life (iOOL) meeting 2018 at Institute for Molecular Evolution, Heinrich-Heine-University, Dusseldorf, Germany, (October 2018) – “The possible role of prebiotic scaffold molecules in the Origins of life ”
    • Contributed Talk  – 18th European Astrobiology Network Association (EANA) conference 2018, Berlin, Germany, (September 2018) – “Combinatorial Chemistry and the Origins of Life: Polyesters”
    • Invited Talk – Biotechnology and Biomedicine Center of the Academy of Sciences and Charles University in Vestec (BIOCEV), Vestec, Czech Republic (September 2018)- “Scaffolding the Origins of life”
    • Invited Talk- Research Fellows Conference, University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague, Czech Republic (September 2018) “Introduction and Problems in the Origins of Life”
    • Invited Talk – Institute for Planetary Materials (IPM), Okayama University, Misasa, Japan (June 2017)- “Origins of life and its discontent”
    • Invited Talk – NASA Astrobiology Institute’s Thermodynamic, Disequilibrium and Evolution (TDE) Focus Group meeting, ELSI, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan, (October 2016) – “The Abiotic Chemistry of Thiolated Acetate Derivatives and the Origin of Life”
  • And some outreach talks in Malaysia (see the attached poster)
    • Public talk at SMK (High School) Wangsa Melawati “How to Find Aliens Vol 2”, 13th March 2019
    • Public talk at Planetarium Negara “How to Find Aliens”, 25th February 2019. 

I will be updating this blog soon with my own OOL stuff.