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About this book
About this book
The aim of this book is to integrate discoveries in astronomy, planetology, paleontology, biology and chemistry, and to use this knowledge to give us a better understanding of the likely origin of life on Earth. Contributions range from the environment and atmosphere of the early Earth, through the appearance of organic molecules in the prebiotic environment, to primitive chemical systems capable of self-replication and evolution by mutation.
List of contributors; Introduction Andre Brack; Part I. Setting the Stage: 1. The origin of the atmosphere Tobias C. Owen; 2. The early atmosphere as a source of biogenic compounds James F. Kasting, and Lisa L. Brown; Part II. Organic Molecules on the Primitive Earth: 3. The endogenous synthesis of organic compounds Stanley L. Miller; 4. Hydrothermal systems Nils G. Holm, and Eva M. Andersson; 5. Cosmic origin of the biosphere Armand H. Delsemme; 6. Meteorites John R. Cronin; 7. Micrometeorites on the early Earth Michel Maurette; Part III. Possible Starts for Primitive Life: 8. Membrane compartments in prebiotic evolution David W. Deamer; 9. A step-by-step analysis of the early chemistry of life in an iron-sulfur world Gunter Wachtershauser; 10. The thioester world Christian de Duve; 11. Origins of the RNA world Alan W. Schwartz; 12. Catalysis of RNA synthesis: a possible route from prebiotic chemistry to the RNA world James P. Ferris; 13. Catalysis in the RNA world Kenneth D. James, and Andrew W. Ellington; 14. Self-replication and autocatalysis Jens Burmeister, and Gunter von Kiedrowski; Part IV. Clues from the Bacterial World: 15. Hyperthermophiles and their possible role as ancestors of modern life Karl O. Stetter; 16. Tracing the roots of the universal tree of life J. William Schopf; Part V. Clues from Other Planets: 17. Titan Francois Raulin; 18. Life on Mars Christopher P. McKay; Part VI. Conclusion Andre Brack.
417 pages, 31 b/w photos, 74 line illus, 23 tabs
'Every chapter in this book is relevant and interesting ... a 'must' for the departmental library.' Dorian Pritchard, British Society for Developmental Biology