Theory of Intelligent Design, the best explanation of Origins

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Theory of Intelligent Design, the best explanation of Origins » Origin of life » Essential elements and building blocks for the origin of life

Essential elements and building blocks for the origin of life

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Essential elements and building blocks for the origin of life

http://reasonandscience.heavenforum.org/t2437-essential-elements-and-building-blocks-for-the-origin-of-life

An invariant simple foundation underlies unlimited complexity at higher levels At the core of life lies a network for the synthesis of the small organic molecules from which all biomass is derived. Remarkably, this core network of molecules and pathways is small (containing about 125 basic molecular building blocks) and very highly conserved. 2 If viewed at the ecosystem level – meaning that, for each compound, one asks what pathways must have been traversed in the course of its synthesis, disregarding which species may have performed the reaction or what trophic exchanges may have befallen pathway intermediates along the way – the core network is also essentially universal.

The primitive prebiotic environment contained a broad array of organic compounds, only a few of which would have been useful to the origin of nucleic acids. What sort of evolutionary processes leading to nucleic acids can be imagined in such an environment? If a useful step in chemical evolution were achieved, how would it become stabilized so that it would be an integral part of the developing system? There are no sure answers to such questions. 3

The overall metabolism is based on seven non-metal elements, H, C, N, 0, P, S and Se. With these elements all the major polymers of all cells are made. Hence the major metabolic pathways involve them. Their uptake and loss are the major flows of material. Most of this metabolism in the cytoplasm is unchanged in all cells to this day 4

The Chemical Building Blocks of Life

All life is composed mainly of the four macromolecule building blocks: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids.





Other universal features of life include its use of several essential cofactors and RNA, and some chemical aspects of bioenergetics and cellular compartmentalization.

All minerals are toxic if they are present in living organisms in sufficiently high quantity 1

hydrogen
sodium
potassium
magnesium
calcium
Arsenic
Boron
Chromium
Cobalt
Copper
Iodine
Iron
Manganese
Molybdenum
Nickel
Selenium
Vanadium
Zinc
sulfur
phosphorous  
Hydrogen  
Oxygen
Carbon
Nitrogen


  • Carbohydrates

  • Lipids

  • Proteins


Functions of Proteins

1. Structural Support
2. Storage
3. Transport
4. Signaling
5. Cellular Response to Chemical Stimuli
6. Movement
7. Defense Against Foreign Organisms
8. Catalysis of Biochemical Reactions



  • Amino acids

  • Nucleic acids










1. http://www.mineralresourcesint.co.uk/pdf/26%20Evolutionary%20Events_and_sea_water.pdf
2. THE ORIGIN AND NATURE OF LIFE ON EARTH, page 4
3. Origins of Life on the Earth and in the Cosmos page 185
4. Calcium Homeostasis, page 6



Last edited by Admin on Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:35 pm; edited 4 times in total

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Oxygen
Our present atmosphere consists of 78% nitrogen (N2), 21% molecular oxygen (O2), and 1% of other gases, such as carbon dioxide CO2), argon (Ar), and water vapor H2O). An atmosphere containing free oxygen would be fatal to all origin of life schemes. While oxygen is necessary for life, free oxygen would oxidize and thus destroy all organic molecules required for the origin of life. Thus, in spite of much evidence that the earth has always had a significant quantity of free oxygen in the atmosphere,3 evolutionists persist in declaring that there was no oxygen in the earth's early atmosphere. However, this would also be fatal to an evolutionary origin of life. If there were no oxygen there would be no protective layer of ozone surrounding the earth. Ozone is produced by radiation from the sun on the oxygen in the atmosphere, converting the diatomic oxygen(O2) we breathe to triatomic oxygen O3), which is ozone. Thus if there were no oxygen there would be no ozone. The deadly destructive ultraviolet light from the sun would pour down on the surface of the earth unimpeded, destroying those organic molecules required for life, reducing them to simple gases, such as nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and water. Thus, proponents of evolution face an irresolvable dilemma: in the presence of oxygen, life could not evolve; without oxygen, thus no ozone, life could not evolve or exist.

Carbon
Carbon is unique in its ability to combine with other atoms, forming a vast and unparalleled number of compounds in combination with hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. This universe of organic chemistry— with its huge diversity of chemical and physical properties—is precisely what is needed for the assembling of complex chemical systems. Furthermore, the general ‘metastability’ of carbon bonds and the consequent relative ease with which they can be assembled and rearranged by living systems  contributes greatly to the fitness of carbon chemistry for biochemical life. No other atom is nearly as fit as carbon for the formation of complex biochemistry. Today, one century later, no one doubts these claims. Indeed the peerless fitness of the carbon atom to build chemical complexity and to partake in biochemistry has been affirmed by a host of researchers.

One widely publicized coincidence is the ‘lucky’ fact that the nuclear resonances of the isotopes 12C and 16O are exactly what they need to be if carbon is to be synthesized and accumulate in any quantity in the interior of stars . The energy levels of these resonances ensure that 12C is first synthesized in stellar interiors from collisions between 8Be (beryllium) and He (helium) nuclei, and that the carbon synthesized is not depleted later. Hoyle made this discovery in 1953 while working at Caltech with William Fowler. An intriguing aspect of the discovery is that Hoyle made it based on a prediction from the anthropic principle . Hoyle himself
famously commented:

If you wanted to produce carbon and oxygen in roughly equal quantities by stellar nucleosynthesis, these are the two levels you would have to fix, and your fixing would have to be just about where these levels are found to be ... A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.

This discovery was acclaimed not only as a major scientific discovery but also as further evidence of the biocentricity of nature. Hoyle may have been one of the first to notice that the conditions necessary to permit carbon-based life require a very narrow range of basic physical constants, but the idea is now widely accepted. If those constants had been very slightly different, the universe would not have been conducive to the development of matter, astronomical structures, or elemental diversity, and thus the emergence of complex chemical systems.

Hydrogen
The most abundant element in the universe, hydrogen is also a promising source of "clean" fuel on Earth. Named after the Greek words hydro for "water" and genes for "forming," hydrogen makes up more than 90 percent of all of the atoms, which equals three quarters of the mass of the universe, according to the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Hydrogen is essential for life, and it is present in nearly all the molecules in living things, according to the Royal Society of Chemistry. The element also occurs in the stars and powers the universe through the proton-proton reaction and carbon-nitrogen cycle.

Nitrogen
Nitrogen is one of the essential nutrients of life on Earth, with some organisms, such as the kinds of microbes found within the roots of legume plants, capable of converting nitrogen gas into molecules that other species can use. 1 Nitrogen fixation, as the process is called, involves breaking the powerful chemical bonds that hold nitrogen atoms in pairs in the atmosphere and using the resulting single nitrogen atoms to help create molecules such as ammonia, which is a building block of many complex organic molecules, such as proteins, DNA and RNA. Stüeken developed a model of abiotic nitrogen processes that could have played a role in early Earth. The results showed that such abiotic processes alone could not explain the nitrogen levels seen in the Isua rocks.

Potassium
Potassium is an essential mineral micronutrient and is the main intracellular ion for all types of cells. It is important in maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance in the bodies of humans and animals. Potassium is necessary for the function of all living cells, and is thus present in all plant and animal tissues. It is found in especially high concentrations within plant cells, and in a mixed diet, it is most highly concentrated in fruits. The high concentration of potassium in plants, associated with comparatively very low amounts of sodium there, historically resulted in potassium first being isolated from the ashes of plants (potash), which in turn gave the element its modern name. The high concentration of potassium in plants means that heavy crop production rapidly depletes soils of potassium, and agricultural fertilizers consume 93% of the potassium chemical production of the modern world economy.

Calcium
In view of the importance of calcium (Ca2+) as a universal intracellular regulator, itsessential role in cell signaling and communication in many biological intra and extra cellular processes,  it is surprising how little it is mentioned in the origins ( evolution/ID) debate. Most discussions about the origin of life  start with RNA worlds versus metabolism first scenarios, panspermia, hydrothermal vent theory etc. The origin of life cannot be elucidated, without taking into consideration and explaining how the calcium signaling machinery, and cell homeostasis appeared.

Molybdenum 
Minerals containing the elements boron and molybdenum are key in assembling atoms into life-forming molecules. 11 The researcher points out that boron minerals help carbohydrate rings to form from pre-biotic chemicals, and then molybdenum takes that intermediate molecule and rearranges it to form ribose, and hence RNA. This raises problems for how life began on Earth, since the early Earth is thought to have been unsuitable for the formation of the necessary boron and molybdenum minerals. It is thought that the boron minerals needed to form RNA from pre-biotic soups were not available on early Earth in sufficient quantity, and the molybdenum minerals were not available in the correct chemical form. "It’s only when molybdenum becomes highly oxidised that it is able to influence how early life formed. "This form of molybdenum couldn’t have been available on Earth at the time life first began, because three billion years ago, the surface of the Earth had very little oxygen.

Sulfur
The origin of life required two processes that dominated: 
(1) the generation of a proton gradient and 
(2) linking this gradient to ATP production in part and in part to uptake of essential chemicals and rejection of others. The generation of a proton gradient required especially appropriate amounts of iron (Fe2+), levels for electron transfer and the ATP production depended on controlling H+, Mg2+ and phosphate in the cytoplasm. 

Iron serves essential functions in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, and cells have highly specialized mechanisms for acquiring and handling this metal. 
Organisms use a variety of transition metals as catalytic centers in proteins, including iron, copper, manganese, and zinc. Iron is well suited to redox reactions due to its capability to act as both an electron donor and acceptor. In eukaryotic cells, iron is a cofactor for a wide variety of metalloproteins involved in energy metabolism, oxygen binding, DNA biosynthesis and repair, synthesis of biopolymers, cofactors, and vitamins, drug metabolism, antioxidant function, and many others. Because iron is so important for survival, organisms utilize several techniques to optimize uptake and storage to ensure maintenance of sufficient levels for cellular requirements. However, the redox properties of iron also make it extremely toxic if cells have excessive amounts. Free iron can catalyze the formation of reactive oxygen species such as the hydroxyl radical, which in turn can damage proteins, lipids, membranes, and DNA. Cells must maintain a delicate balance between iron deficiency and iron overload that involves coordinated control at the transcriptional, post-transcriptional, and post-translational levels to help fine tune iron utilization and iron trafficking.  

Iron
The origin of life required two processes that dominated:
(1) the generation of a proton gradient and
(2) linking this gradient to ATP production in part and in part to uptake of essential chemicals and rejection of others. The generation of a proton gradient required especially appropriate amounts of iron (Fe2+), levels for electron transfer and the ATP production depended on controlling H+, Mg2+ and phosphate in the cytoplasm. 

Iron serves essential functions in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, and cells have highly specialized mechanisms for acquiring and handling this metal. 
Organisms use a variety of transition metals as catalytic centers in proteins, including iron, copper, manganese, and zinc. Iron is well suited to redox reactions due to its capability to act as both an electron donor and acceptor. In eukaryotic cells, iron is a cofactor for a wide variety of metalloproteins involved in energy metabolism, oxygen binding, DNA biosynthesis and repair, synthesis of biopolymers, cofactors, and vitamins, drug metabolism, antioxidant function, and many others. Because iron is so important for survival, organisms utilize several techniques to optimize uptake and storage to ensure maintenance of sufficient levels for cellular requirements. However, the redox properties of iron also make it extremely toxic if cells have excessive amounts. Free iron can catalyze the formation of reactive oxygen species such as the hydroxyl radical, which in turn can damage proteins, lipids, membranes, and DNA. Cells must maintain a delicate balance between iron deficiency and iron overload that involves coordinated control at the transcriptional, post-transcriptional, and post-translational levels to help fine tune iron utilization and iron trafficking.  


Magnesium
There are 24  metal and non metal elements , that are essential for life, amongst them magnesium, which plays a critical role in cellular metabolism,  DNA repair, its also present in all deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and RNA activation processes, stabilizing macromolecular complexes and membranes. As activator of over 300 different enzymes, magnesium participates in many metabolic processes, such as glycolysis, Krebs cycle, β-oxidation or ion transport across cell membranes. Cells must have mechanisms to maintain physiological levels of Mg2+. It is indispensable for the nucleus ( in eukaryotes ) to function as a whole and for the maintenance of physical stability as well as aggregation of rybosomes into polysomes able to initiate protein synthesis. All these different essential roles elucidate that life could not have had a first go without magnesium.

But in order for the cell to be able to make use of it, Magnesium  like other metal ions, has to be transported inside cells across the cell  membrane by specific membrane proteins.  Three distinct classes of Mg2+ transporters have been identified in bacteria. MgtA transporter proteins can sense magnesium ions down to micromolar concentrations, which is the equivalent to a pinch (1 gram) of magnesium salt in 10,000 liters of water. Wow ! This detection system depends on a specific lipid molecule in the membrane called cardiolipin. MgtA and cardiolipin have to  work together in a interdependent manner.

Organisms must maintain physiological levels of Mg2+ because this divalent cation is critical for the stabilization of membranes and ribosomes, the neutralization of nucleic acids, and as a cofactor in a variety of enzymatic reactions. Furthermore, specialized biosynthesis pathways and specialized proteins  exist to make these import proteins and cardiolipin.

Phosphate
The short supply of phosphorus poses a significant problem for a naturalistic origin of life because so much of this ingredient is required to make replicator molecules. Phosphates are part of the backbone of both DNA and RNA. A phosphate molecule must accompany every nucleoside in them. Possible precursors to DNA and RNA molecules would seem to require similar phosphate richness. Without life molecules (already assembled and operating), no known natural process can harvest the amounts of phosphorus necessary for life from the environment. All the phosphate-rich deposits on Earth are produced by life.

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