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Department Of Health And Medical Sciences

Center For Foundation Studies-IIUM

JULY 2007
SEMESTER 1 2007/2008


1.A 2.D 3.D 4.D 5.C 6.C 7.B 8.D 9.C 10.C

Structured Questions

a. To prove chemical evolution is possible in early Earth or

Synthesis of simple organic compounds from simple gasses

b. Lightning
c. Methane, Ammonia, Hydrogen
d. Carbon Dioxide and Nitrogen
e. Self replicating molecule
f. Metabolism and self replicating molecules

Answers to selected Essay Questions

1a. Briefly describe how a prokaryotic cell evolves into a eukaryotic cell.

Prokaryote cell will undergo membrane Invagination or plasma membrane infolding.

This will produce a cell with a nucleus and an endomembrane system/endoplasmic
reticulum. Thus forming a new eukaryotic cell.

1b. With the aid of diagrams briefly describe the evolution of an ancestral
heterotrophic eukaryote.

The newly evolved eukaryotic cell will engage in a symbiotic relationship with
an energy producing aerobic heterotropic prokaryote. This is achieved by
engulfing the energy producing aerobic heterotropic prokaryote into the
eukaryotic cell. The energy producing aerobic heterotropic prokaryote will
eventually evolve to from the mitochondria. The eukaryotic cell will eventually
form an ancestral heterotropic eukaryote.

2a. Briefly describe the evidences that is used to support the Serial Endosymbiosis
theory of the evolution of the eukaryotic cell.

Present day plastids and mitochondria have their own circular DNA which is
not associated with histones or other proteins just like the bacteria.

Plastid and mitochondria have their own tRNA’s, and ribosomes . The
ribosomes of plastids/chloroplast and mitochondria are more similar to
prokaryotic ribosomes than they are to the cytoplasmic ribosomes of
eukaryotic cells.
These evidences gives strength to the serial Endosymbiosis theory.
2b. Briefly describe the members from the Domain Archaeabacteria.

Archaea bacteria are a type of prokaryotes that lives in very extreme

environments where few organisms can survive. They are also known as
extremopiles. They are further subdivided into 3 groups:-

1 Extreme thermophiles : They thrive in very hot

environment such as sulphur rich volcanic springs.

2 Extreme Halophiles : They live in highly saline


3 Methanogens : They produce energy by using CO2

to oxidize H2 and releasing methane as a by product.

4a. Briefly describe the 3 theories about the origin of life on planet Earth.


Life-forms may have been put on earth by supernatural or divine forces

(God). The core of most major religion. The oldest hypothesis about life’s


This theory called panspermia. Life may not have originated on earth at all.
Life may have infected earth from some other planet. Some organic
compounds from which the first life on Earth arose may come from space
from meteorites. Certain meteorite that bombarded planet Earth contained
more than 80 amino acids. So it is believed that amino acids reached planet
Earth on chondrites and may have added certain amino acids into the
primordial soup.


Life may have evolved from inanimate matter as associations among

molecules became more and more complex (abiogenesis).
4b. Briefly outline the main steps of Chemical Evolution

• Early Earth starts to cool down forming the earth crust.

• Formation of volcanoes at weak points of the earth crust and the
occurrence of volcanic eruptions.
• Gasses and steam are liberated into the atmosphere forming the first
primitive atmosphere which is a reducing atmosphere.
• Energy sources such as lightning and ultra violet radiation /cosmic
radiation are available on early Earth.
• Using these energy sources, simple gasses in the reducing atmosphere
begin to react to form simple organic compounds.
• Simple organic compounds falls into the sea and accumulates to form the
primitive soup or primordial soup.
• Simple organic compounds starts to associate to form more complex
organic compounds such as proteins, simple carbohydrates, phospholipids
and self replicating molecules.
• Phospholipids aggregate to form protobionts/ liposome or bubbles which
are considered as non living primitive cell like structures.
• Proteins (enzymes), self replicating molecules are incorporated into the
• They evolved to become the first living prokaryotic cell