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Geochemistry and the Origin of Life: From Extraterrestrial Processes, Chemical Evolution on Earth, Fossilized Life’s Records, to Natures of the Extant Life

1
Department of Earth and Space Science, Osaka University, Toyonaka, Osaka 560-0043, Japan
2
Undergraduate School of Physics, Osaka University, Toyonaka, Osaka 560-0043, Japan
3
Faculty of Engineering, Yokohama National University, 79-5 Tokiwadai, Hodogaya-ku, Yokohama 240-8501, Japan
4
Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 2-12-1, Ookayama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-8550, Japan
5
Department of Subsurface Geobiological Analysis and Research, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Kanagawa 237-0061, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 August 2018 / Revised: 15 September 2018 / Accepted: 17 September 2018 / Published: 20 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geochemistry and the Origin of Life)
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Abstract

In 2001, the first author (S.N.) led the publication of a book entitled “Geochemistry and the origin of life” in collaboration with Dr. Andre Brack aiming to figure out geo- and astro-chemical processes essential for the emergence of life. Since then, a great number of research progress has been achieved in the relevant topics from our group and others, ranging from the extraterrestrial inputs of life’s building blocks, the chemical evolution on Earth with the aid of mineral catalysts, to the fossilized records of ancient microorganisms. Here, in addition to summarizing these findings for the origin and early evolution of life, we propose a new hypothesis for the generation and co-evolution of photosynthesis with the redox and photochemical conditions on the Earth’s surface. Besides these bottom-up approaches, we introduce an experimental study on the role of water molecules in the life’s function, focusing on the transition from live, dormant, and dead states through dehydration/hydration. Further spectroscopic studies on the hydrogen bonding behaviors of water molecules in living cells will provide important clues to solve the complex nature of life. View Full-Text
Keywords: building blocks; biopolymers; polymerization; extraterrestrial inputs; mineral surfaces; metabolism; photosynthesis; water; hydrogen bonding (9: 3-10) building blocks; biopolymers; polymerization; extraterrestrial inputs; mineral surfaces; metabolism; photosynthesis; water; hydrogen bonding (9: 3-10)
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Nakashima, S.; Kebukawa, Y.; Kitadai, N.; Igisu, M.; Matsuoka, N. Geochemistry and the Origin of Life: From Extraterrestrial Processes, Chemical Evolution on Earth, Fossilized Life’s Records, to Natures of the Extant Life. Life 2018, 8, 39.

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