Chapter 2 The Origin and Chemistry Of Life
Asst. Prof. Donna May D. Papa, RMT, MSc Dept. of Biological Sciences College of Science University of Santo Tomas

Spontaneous Generation of Life (History) 1. Spontaneous generation was a belief that frogs could arise from earth, mice from rotten matter, etc. - life arose from onliving material in addition to parental reproduction 2. In 1861, Louis Pasteur demonstrated sterilized broth in flasks, even exposed to air, could not spontaneously ferment. 3. However, Oparin and Haldane independently proposed a long period of “abiotic molecular evolution” stating life did once arise from nonliving chemistry.


01 Solar system showing narrow range of thermal conditions suitable for life All living organisms retain a fundamental chemical composition inherited from their ancient common ancestor 2 .6/19/2013 Figure 02.

most liquids become denser with decreasing temp.moderates env'tal temperature changes. Water reaches max density at 4C while still a liquid.solutes like salt dissolve more extensively in water Water strider 3 . • Extraordinary properties = essential role in living systems • Hydrogen bonds that form between adjacent water molecules underlie these properties Properties • High specific heat capacity . 1calorie = elevate 1C • High heat vaporization . • High surface tension .500 calories to convert 1g of liquid to water vapor • Unique density behavior .hydrogen bonding among water molecules creates a cohesiveness • Low viscosity . forming 60-90% of most living organisms.6/19/2013 WATER • Origin and maintenance of life on life on earth depend critically upon water • Water is the most abundant of all compounds in cells.permitting movement of blood through minute capillaries • Excellent solvent .

4 . 2. Carbohydrates contain carbon.Glucose is commonly found in the blood of animals and is an important immediate energy source for cells. B. hydrogen and oxygen. Over one million carbon-based molecules have been identified.6/19/2013 Organic Molecular Structure of Living Systems A.Carbohydrates provide structural elements and store energy. 2. 3. Organic compounds contain carbon. usually in ratio of 1C:2H:1O as H–C–OH. Carbon 1. Carbohydrates: Nature’s Most Abundant Organic Substance 1. most are produced in living systems.

Cellulose occurs in greater quantities than all other organic materials combined. c. Disaccharides contain two monosaccharides bonded together. 5. are the starting point of food chains. Maltose is formed from the bonding of two glucose molecules and removal of a water molecule. b. synthesized by plants by photosynthesis.6/19/2013 4. Monosaccharides a. c. Disaccharides a. five or six carbon atoms. Hexoses: Most common disaccharides 5 . Monosaccharides are simple sugars with a carbon backbone of four. d. The hexose glucose is particularly important in life. Lactose (milk sugar) is a linkage of glucose and galactose. 6. galactose and fructose all contain free sugar groups. Glucose. Carbohydrates. Chair representation of a glucose molecule 7. b. Sucrose (table sugar) is a linkage of glucose to fructose.

Lipids are fats and fat-like substances. Triglycerides consist of glycerol and three molecules of fatty acids. c. When every carbon in a chain is bonded to two hydrogen atoms. Unsaturated fatty acids. Polysaccharides are chains of glucose molecules called polymers. have two or more carbon atoms joined by double bonds 6 . Neutral Fats a. found in vertebrate liver and muscle cells. d. it is storage carbohydrate of animals. Stored fats . c. Glycogen is a polymer of glucose. Lipids have low polarity .derived directly or converted from carbohydrates.insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents. d. Most have the formula (C6H10O5)n where n is the number of simple sugar subunits. common in plant oils. Lipids: Fuel Storage and Building Material 1. C. they are the major animal fuels. b. 3. Cellulose is the principal structural carbohydrate of plants. Polysaccharides a.6/19/2013 8. it is saturated. b. 2.

inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. vitamin D. • E.g. • Steroids include cholesterol. Glycine . adrenocortical hormones and sex hormones. Amino Acids and Proteins • Proteins are large molecules composed of 20 kinds of amino acids.6/19/2013 4. • Two amino acids and a peptide bond form a dipeptide. • Lecithin is an important phospholipid of nerve membranes. 5. 7 . D. • Amino acids are joined by peptide bonds. Phospholipids • structural role in molecular organization of tissues and membranes • resemble triglycerides with one fatty acid replaced by phosphoric acid and an organic base. important in controlling epilepsy and other CNS disorders. Steroids • Steroids are complex alcohols with fat-like properties.

Nucleic acids are complex polymeric molecules. DNA is deoxyribonucleic acid. Proteins form much of the framework of the cytoplasm and organelles. cell biology can be studied as protein biology. 7. hydrogen. Proteins function as enzymes to catalyze most reactions. 8 . Secondary structure comes from the bond angles of the sequence: alpha-helix and beta sheets. 4. E. store directions for synthesis of enzymes and other proteins. the only molecules that can replicate themselves. 6. 3. Nucleic Acids 1. 6. RNA is ribonucleic acid. 2. 7.6/19/2013 5. Both DNA and RNA are polymers of repeated units called nucleotides. c. ionic and hydrophobic bonds. Levels of Protein Structure a. Bending and folding of secondary structures forms the tertiary structure. as in hemoglobin. b.sequence of amino acids in the polypeptide chain. often stabilized by disulfide. Sequence of nitrogenous bases encodes genetic information for inheritance. Primary structure . a nitrogenous base and a phosphate group. each containing a sugar. d. Quaternary structure occurs when several polypeptide chains form subunits of a huge protein molecule. 5.

becoming the first living entity and marking the end of chemical evolution. beginning of biological evolution. 4. carbon-containing compounds like formaldehyde (H2CO) and hydrogen cyanide (HCN).First molecules formed were small. In 1953. 3.6/19/2013 Chemical Evolution A. and nitrogenous bases. Electrical discharge created sparks (= kinetic energy).Organic preliminary molecules could have been formed in a reduced atmosphere 9 . •Process component: radiant and kinetic energy are converted into chemical energy in the bonds of large molecules. Four steps of chemical evolution theory-predictions of the theory: 1.Small molecules of prebiotic soup link together to form nucleic acids and proteins. The simple mixture. with time (a week). was 15% converted to organic compounds. A single molecule acquires the ability to self-replicate. Results-In one week. Assumed a reduced atmosphere-NH3.Small molecules react. •Pattern component-Increasingly complex carbon-containing molecules formed in the atmosphere and ocean of ancient Earth. B. amino acids. and the prebiotic soup. and CH4 (gases). Stanley Miller and Harold Urey tested the Oparin-Haldane hypothesis. Conclusion. forming sugars. 2. H2. Oparin-Haldane Hypothesis •First to propose the idea of chemical evolution (1923). and H2O (water vapor). a deep red solution containing HCN and H2CO forms. 2. Prebiotic Synthesis of Small Organic Molecules 1.

nucleic acids were needed as simple genetic systems. Evolution of autotrophic organisms required gaining enzymes to catalyze conversion of inorganic molecules to more complex ones. 2. a model is proposed here. 4. Autotrophs synthesize their own food. On top of previous chemical evolution. earliest life form probably originated 4 billion years ago. Earliest microorganisms are considered primary heterotrophs. heterotrophs must obtain food from the environment. 2. Origin of Metabolism 1. 4. only environmental conditions and chemistry shaped biogenesis. they were probably anaerobic and similar to Clostridium bacteria. 3. Before this stage. History of the evolution of complex metabolism is yet to be understood.” 5. Fossils date to 3. RNA would have been the earliest self-replicating molecule. 10 . Proteins are better catalysts and DNA is more stable. the system responds to natural selection and evolves.8 billion years ago. Self-replicating Systems 1. After this stage. Protocells would have been autonomous. 3. 7. 6. thus it would have been an “RNA world. membrane-bound units with functional organization that permitted self-reproduction. thus they would eventually be selected.6/19/2013 Origin of Living Systems A.

Modern photosynthesis involves carbon dioxide and water to form sugar and oxygen. Pre-Cambrian covers time before Cambrian began nearly 600 million years ago. 4. eukaryotic algae and plants have generated our current atmosphere of 21% oxygen. Cambrian Explosion 1. Production of oxygen began building an atmosphere. 2. oxygen begins to form an ozone shield and restrict UV radiation reaching the surface. Precambrian Life A. 6. 5.” 11 . Cyanobacteria. at 1% of its current level. increasing oxygen production. Autotrophy evolves with photosynthesis.6/19/2013 Appearance of Photosynthesis and Oxidative Metabolism 1. Early photosynthesis probably used hydrogen sulfide or other hydrogen sources. Most animal phyla appear within a few million years at the beginning of Cambrian: the “Cambrian explosion. 2. Then photosynthetic organisms spread across land and water. 3.

d. they were dominant for two-thirds of life’s history. plastids. Cyanobacteria peaked one billion years ago. A membrane nucleus contains chromosomes composed of chromatin. lacking histones. Cellular division usually is an organized process called mitosis. There is more DNA. They lack mitochondria.6/19/2013 Prokaryotes and the Age of Cyanobacteria (Blue-Green Algae) 1. d. is in a nucleoid but not bound by nuclear membranes. b. b. c. Primitive Structures of Prokaryotes a. Advanced Structures of Eukaryotes a. 12 . and eukaryotic chromatin contains histones and RNA. the nucleoid divides and replicates but does not go through organized mitosis. In the cytoplasm are many membrane-bound organelles. Golgi apparatus and endoplasmic reticulum. A single DNA molecule. Appearance of Eukaryotes 1. During division. c.

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