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CHAPTER 22

ORIGIN AND
HISTORY OF LIFE

Prepared by
Brenda Leady, University of Toledo

1 reprod
Copyright (c) The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Permission required for

 The universe began with the Big Bang
about 13.7 bya
 Our solar system began about 4.6 bya
 The Earth is 4.55 billion years old
 4 bya the Earth cooled enough for outer
layers to solidify and oceans to form
 4-3.5 bya life emerged

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Origin in 4 overlapping stages
1. Nucleotides and amino acids produced
prior to the existence of cells
2. Nucleotides and amino acids became
polymerized to form DNA, RNA and
proteins
3. Polymers became enclosed in
membranes
4. Polymers enclosed in membranes
evolved cellular properties 4

Stage 1: Origin of organic molecules

 Conditions on primitive Earth may have
been more conducive to spontaneous
formation of organic molecules
 Prebiotic or abiotic synthesis
 Formed prebiotic soup
 Several hypotheses on where and how
organic molecules originated

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 Reducing atmosphere hypothesis  Based on geological data  Experiments simulated conditions of primitive Earth postulated in 1950s  Formed precursors. amino acids. sugars and nitrogenous bases  First attempt to apply scientific experiments to understand origin of life  Since 1950s. ideas about early Earth atmosphere changed  Similar results 6 .

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 Extraterrestrial hypothesis  Meteorites brought organic carbon to Earth  Includes amino acids and nucleic acid bases  Opponents argue that most of this would be destroyed in the intense heating and collision  Deep-sea vent hypothesis  Biologicallyimportant molecules may have been formed in the temperature gradient between extremely hot vent water and cold ocean water  Supported by experiments  Complex biological communities found here that derive energy from chemicals in the vent (not the sun) 8 .

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prebiotic synthesis of polymers not possible in aqueous solutions  Experiments have shown formation of nucleic acid polymers and polypeptides on clay surface 10 .Stage 2: Organic polymers  Experimentally.

Stage 3: Formation of boundaries  Protobiont/ prebiont describes first nonliving structures that evolved into living cells  4 characteristics 1. Polymers inside the protobiont contained information 3. Polymers inside the protobiont had enzymatic function 4. Protobionts capable of self-replication 11 . Boundary separated external environment from internal contents 2.

Living cells may have evolved from  Coacervates  Droplets that form spontaneously from the association of charged polymers  Enzymes trapped inside can perform primitive metabolic functions  Microspheres  Smallwater-filled vesicles surrounded by a macromolecular boundary  Liposomes  Vesicles surrounded by a lipid layer  Clay can catalyze formation of liposomes that grow and divide  Can enclose RNA 12 .

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Stage 4: RNA world  Majority of scientists favor RNA as the first macromolecule of protobionts  3 key RNA functions 1. Ability to store information 2. Capacity for replication 3. Enzymatic function – ribozymes  DNA and proteins do not have all 3 functions 14 .

Second mutation produces enzymatic ability to synthesize nucleotides  No reliance on prebiotic synthesis 15 .Chemical selection  Chemical within a mixture of different chemicals has special properties or advantages that cause it to increase in number compared to other chemicals in the mixture  Hypothetical scenario with 2 steps 1. One of the RNA molecules mutates and has enzymatic ability to attach nucleotides together  Advantage of faster replication 2.

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the long RNA would be held to the short RNA bound to the beads .Bartel and Szostak Demonstrated Chemical Selection in the Laboratory  Began with synthesis of 1015 RNA molecules (long)  Each RNA contained 2 regions – constant region the same in all the molecules and a variable region  Also made short RNAs that were complementary to a portion of the long RNA and had a tag sequence to bind to beads  If the long RNAs mutated and obtained enzymatic activity.

 Long RNAs that had this ability formed pool #1  More long RNAs were made that were variations on Pool #1  Repeated several times  Pool #10 showed enzymatic ability 3 million times higher that the original random pool  Results showed that chemical selection improves the functional characteristics of a group of RNA molecules over time by increasing the proportions of those molecules with enhanced function .

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etc. 20 .Advantages of DNA/RNA/protein world  Information storage  DNA would have relieved RNA of informational role and allowed RNA to do other functions  DNA is less likely to suffer mutations  Metabolism and other cellular functions  Proteins have a greater catalytic potential and efficiency  Proteins can perform other tasks – cytoskeleton. transport.

55 bya to present  Precambrian.History of life on Earth  Geological time scale  Origin 4.first 3 eons 21 .

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 Changes in living organisms the result of  Geneticchanges  Environmental changes  Can allow for new types of organisms  Responsible for many extinctions 23 .

Major environmental changes  Climate/temperature  Atmosphere  Land masses  Flood  Glaciation  Volcanic eruptions  Meteoric impacts 24 .

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and Cretaceous periods  Geologic time periods are often based on these events 26 . Permian. Devonian. Triassic.Mass extinctions  5 large mass extinctions  Near end of Ordovician.

Fossils  Recognizable remains of past life on Earth  Paleontologists study fossils  Many rocks with fossils are sedimentary  Sediments pile up and become rock  Organisms buried quickly and hard parts replaced by minerals  Older rock is deeper and older organisms are deeper in the rock bed 27 .

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Radioisotope dating  Fossils can be dated using elemental isotopes in accompanying rock  Half-life – length of time required for exactly one-half of original isotope to decay  Measure amount of a given isotope as well as the amount of isotope produced when the isotope decays  Usually igneous rock dated  Expect fossil record to underestimate actual date species came into existence 29 .

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Prokaryotic cells arose during Archaeon Eon  Archaeon Eon when diverse microbial life flourished in primordial oceans  First known fossils 3.5 bya  First cells prokaryotic  Bacteria and Archaea are similar but different  All life forms prokaryotic during Archaeon Eon  Hardly any free oxygen so organism were anaerobic  First cells were heterotrophs  Autotrophs evolved as supply of organic molecules dwindled 32 .

Stromatolites  Autotrophic cyanobacteria were preserved when heterotrophic ancestors were not  Form stromatolites.layered structure of calcium carbonate  Cyanobacteria produce oxygen as a waste product of photosynthesis  Spelled doom for many prokaryotic groups that were anaerobic  Allowed the evolution of aerobic species 33 .

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The Origin of Eukaryotic Cells During the Proterozoic Eon Involved a Union Between Bacterial and Archaeal Cells  Origin of first eukaryotic cell matter of debate  In modern eukaryotes. mitochondria and chloroplasts  Examine properties of this DNA and modern prokaryotes  Nuclear genome – both bacteria and archaea contributed substantially  Symbiotic relationship – 2 species live in direct contact  Endosymbitoic – one organism lived inside another  Data supports this origin . DNA found in nucleus.

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Proterzoic Eon  Multicellular eukaryotes arise 1.5 bya  2 possible origins  Individuals form a colony  Single cell divides and stays stuck together  Volvocine green algae display variations in the degree of multicellularity  Multicellular animals emerge toward the end of the eon  First animals invertebrates  Bilateral symmetry facilitates locomotion 37 .

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Phanerzoic Eon  Proliferation of multicellular eukaryotic life extensive during Phanerzoic Eon (543 mya to today)  Paleozoic Era  Mesozoic Era  Cenozoic Era 40 .

Phanerzoic Eon. Paleozoic Era  543-248 mya  Cambrian period  Ordovician period  Silurian period  Devonian period  Carboniferous period  Permian period 41 .

no major reorganizations of body plans  First vertebrates 520 mya 42 . Cambrian Period  543-490 mya  Warm and wet with no ice at poles  Cambrian explosion – abrupt increase in diversity of animal species  Cause unknown – shell evolution. atmospheric oxygen?  All existing major types of marine invertebrates plus many other that no longer exist  Although new species have arisen since.Phanerzoic Eon. Paleozoic Era.

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abrupt climate change (large glaciers) resulting in mass extinction  Over 60% of existing marine invertebrates became extinct 44 . Ordovician Period  490-443 mya  Warm temperatures and atmosphere very moist  Diverse group of marine invertebrates including trilobites and brachiopods  Primitive land plants and arthropods first invade land  Toward end.Phanerzoic Eon. Paleozoic Era.

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Phanerzoic Eon. Paleozoic Era. Silurian Period  443-417 mya  Relatively stable climate  Glaciers largely melted  No new major invertebrates  Significant new vertebrates and plants  Many new fish  Coral reefs appeared  Large colonization by terrestrial plants and animals  Had to evolve adaptations to drying out  Spiders and centipedes  Earliest vascular plants 46 .

temperate oceans  Major increase in number of terrestrial species  Ferns. Paleozoic Era. horsetails and seed plants (gymnosperms) emerge  Insects emerge  Tetrapods – amphibians emerge  Invertebrates flourish in the oceans  Age of Fishes  Near end.Phanerzoic Eon. Devonian Period  417-354 mya  Generally dry across north but southern hemisphere mostly covered by cool. prolonged series of extinctions eliminate many marine species 47 .

reptiles 48 . Paleozoic Era. land covered by forested swamps  Plants and animals further diversified  Very large plants and trees prevalent  First flying insects  Amphibians prevalent  Amniotic egg emerges .Phanerzoic Eon. Carboniferous Period  354-290 mya  Rich coal deposits formed  Cooler.

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Paleozoic Era.Phanerzoic Eon. Permian Period  290-248 mya  Continental drift formed supercontinent Pangaea  Interior regions dry with seasonal fluctuations  Forest shift to gymnosperms  Amphibians prevalent but reptile became dominant  First mammal-like reptiles appeared  At the end. largest known mass extinction event  90-95% of all marine species and large proportion of terrestrial species eliminated  Glaciations or volcanic eruptions blamed 50 .

Phanerzoic Eon. dry terrestrial environments. Mesozoic Era  Permian extinction marks boundary between Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras  Age of Dinosaurs  Consistently hot climate. little if any ice at poles 51 .

Phanerzoic Eon. Mesozoic Era. Triassic Period  248-206 mya  Reptiles plentiful  First dinosaurs  First true mammals  Gymnosperms dominant land plant  Volcanic eruptions led to global warming and mass extinctions near the end 52 .

Mesozoic Era. Jurassic Period  206-144 mya  Gymnosperms continued to be dominant  Dinosaurs dominant land animal  Some attained enormous size  First known bird  Mammals present but not prevalent 53 .Phanerzoic Eon.

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Mesozoic Era. Cretaceous Period  144-65 mya  Dinosaurs still dominant on land  Earliest flowering plants. angiosperms  Another mass extinction at the end of the period  Dinosaurs and many other species died out  Large meteorite/asteroid or volcanic eruptions blamed 55 .Phanerzoic Eon.

and flowering plants 56 . fish. drier climate  Amazing diversification of birds. insects. Cenozoic Era  Spans most recent 65 million years  Tropical conditions replaced by a colder.Phanerzoic Eon.

Tertiary Period  65-1.Phanerzoic Eon.8 mya  Mammals that survived expanded rapidly  Birds and terrestrial insects diversified  Angiosperms become the dominant land plant  Fish diversified  Sharks become abundant  Whales appeared  Hominids appeared about 7 mya 57 . Cenozoic Era.

Phanerzoic Eon.000 years ago 58 .8 mya to present  Periodic ice ages cover much of Europe and North America  Widespread extinction of many species  Certain hominids become more human- like  Homo sapiens appears 130. Quaternary Period  1. Cenozoic Era.