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Thread: Mystery of life?

  1. #1 Mystery of life? 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    The organism that started it all, the first living thing, maybe even the common ancestor to all life that ever existed....... I know awhile back I talked about the first living thing must have been pretty well adapted to its environment just to survive but now I have other questions. Did the first living thing have genes? If so then how did they get them? What blueprint did the first living organism use? Where did the blueprint originate? Was it all just fluke happenstance?

    Here we we have the beginning of life on Earth and I'll assume with no predecessor, no inherited RNA/DNA courtesy of a parent(s), no ancestor whatsoever. Yet it is able to reproduce.... and so I ask what came first, the gene or the organism? Did genetic material evolve as first life gained a foothold and started reproducing....IOW did the need to adapt in order to survive trigger the development of genes? I guess that might mean evolution would be an adaptation in itself but somehow that doesn't sound right.


    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    It's a good question... Short answer is no one knows... I recommend you read Dawkins' The Ancestors Tale, a long book but it begins to answer your question.


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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    It's a good question... Short answer is no one knows... I recommend you read Dawkins' The Ancestors Tale, a long book but it begins to answer your question.
    i have read the book a couple times. It's just one of the things that bothered me, where did genes originate? Do you think it makes more sense for genes to have been manufactured first, possibly in some primordial soup, and then later on the right combination happened by that resulted in the assembly of a first living organism, who knows where or how many individuals or types? One must have survived or we're not here. If we looked, could we find naturally occurring genetic material (genes) not currently residing as part of a living thing?

    The real mystery to me is how genes are the blueprint, instructions for building a living thing, and wtf is going on? Seems like we just accept genes as the blueprint but as much as I think it a peculiar thing for a universe to have, it may be perfectly normal. Makes me wonder about these people who believe the universe is alive, would mean there's a natural blueprint for one of those too I think. Philosophically speaking, if the universe is alive then is anything dead? Life is indeed mysterious.
    Last edited by zinjanthropos; September 13th, 2018 at 01:57 PM.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    It's a good question... Short answer is no one knows... I recommend you read Dawkins' The Ancestors Tale, a long book but it begins to answer your question.
    i have read the book a couple times. It's just one of the things that bothered me, where did genes originate? Do you think it makes more sense for genes to have been manufactured first, possibly in some primordial soup, and then later on the right combination happened by that resulted in the assembly of a first living organism, who knows where or how many individuals or types? One must have survived or we're not here. If we looked, could we find naturally occurring genetic material (genes) not currently residing as part of a living thing?

    The real mystery to me is how genes are the blueprint, instructions for building a living thing, and wtf is going on? Seems like we just accept genes as the blueprint but as much as I think it a peculiar thing for a universe to have, it may be perfectly normal. Makes me wonder about these people who believe the universe is alive, would mean there's a natural blueprint for one of those too I think. Philosophically speaking, if the universe is alive then is anything dead? Life is indeed mysterious.
    Personally I can't see how genes as we know them (Jim) could possibly have come first. They are intrinsically complicated and require a lot of biochemistry to assemble. I'd go for metabolism first, I think. Once you have an energy supply you can start to build things. But I speak strictly ex ano on this subject.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post

    Personally I can't see how genes as we know them (Jim) could possibly have come first. They are intrinsically complicated and require a lot of biochemistry to assemble. I'd go for metabolism first, I think. Once you have an energy supply you can start to build things. But I speak strictly ex ano on this subject.
    Sounds as if the assembly of a living thing could be easier for nature than banging a few genes together. Need one before the other. My reasoning for genes first is that they contain the building instructions for an organism, but since no one knows then in your scenario, genes are not necessary for construction of life in all instances. I think genes first is like a standard for the universe, expect roughly the same blueprint but organism first is saying there's no way to predict what life forms have developed throughout the cosmos.

    Remember all this is IMHO......Another mystery, and I heard Neil deGrasse Tyson say it once, is why did life formation only occur once on Earth? Do you think it possible it could have happened repeatedly? My take on that is kind of the way I feel about that first life form as in it had to be adapted well enough to survive the environs of the time. I think that would also mean it would not be predatory nor would it have any defenses against predation, why would it at first? Over time it would eventually have evolved both. Once that happens, and I think it would be relatively quick, then any new life that formed would need to measure up to the existing life. But new life would not get the time to evolve predatory/defensive traits because I think existing life would make short work of them/it, possibly only seconds. If it had time I think it would have to evolve the traits of existing life to survive. IOW any new life that came along after the original would be primitive and highly vulnerable. My two cents
    Last edited by zinjanthropos; September 14th, 2018 at 11:35 AM.
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Did the first living thing have genes? If so then how did they get them? What blueprint did the first living organism use? Where did the blueprint originate? Was it all just fluke happenstance?
    I assume that exons (code for building proteins) must have existed before genes. First living thing may not have originated on Earth. The Late Heavy Bombardment seems to have coincided with the beginning of life on Earth, 4 billion years ago.

    "One theory holds that a gravitational surge caused by the orbital interaction of Jupiter and Saturn sent Neptune careening into the ring of comets in the outer Solar System. The disrupted comets were sent in all directions and collided with the planets. These water-rich objects may have provided much of the water in the Earth's oceans."

    So, (big if), life originated on another planet (possibly Mars or Jupiter, when it was not surrounded by a layer of gas) then comets brought first life to earth where new environment created new mutations. Should Homo sapiens colonise Mars, then within so many generations a new species of human would be likely to evolve.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    This is 16 years old so not sure how much of it still relevant....
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12593777

    Excerpt:......compounds spontaneously self-assemble into more complex structures such as bimolecular layers,

    This is regarding cell membranes. The compounds came from interstellar space and membranes assembled here on Earth, at least that's how I read the brief article abstract. I just wonder how the compounds were given the instructions or blueprint to assemble a membrane. I usually associate any part of a living cell as the result of genetic building instructions, perhaps I have a misconception. My point is that it appears as if very primitive genetic instructions were present on Earth before the membranes or even life itself formed. Makes life all the more mysterious to me and maybe those trying to create life in the lab might be better off creating primitive genes if there are such things, unless that's what they already do.


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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    It does. Metabolism before formation of genes hypothesis is good. I guess the next question would be if a living thing actually requires genes or whether metabolism to genetic material is actually existing life evolving?
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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