Last week’s Science has a comment and response to an article that I blogged on a few months ago, concerning the formation of amino acids under presumptive Hadean conditions. The comment, by Bada et al., focuses on the (un)availability of KCN and CO under the Hadean conditions. I have no idea who’s right – that’s for future research to uncover, and I’m just following up on a previous post of mine – but it’s interesting to hear these experts distinguish between the two main theories for the origin of life on Earth:
The “pioneer organism theory” claims a momentary, mechanistically definite origin by autocatalytic carbon fixation within a hot, volcanic flow in contact with transition metal catalysts. The “pioneer metabolic theory” (a hot, volcanic origin) and the “prebiotic soup theory” (a cold, oceanic origin).