Pre-Life Building Blocks Spontaneously Align in Evolutionary Experiment

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An outtake from a mural on the origin of life celebrates famous experimental milestones in the science that tries to explain how chemicals evolved into the first building blocks of life on an Earth before life existed. The NSF Center for Chemical Evolution headquartered at Georgia Tech has adopted this banner as a symbol. Credit: Painted by Christine He and David Fialho for Georgia Tech

Late in the Hadean Eon, Earth's earliest period, some 4 billion years ago, first life chemicals are believed to have come together. Earth's surface seethed with vulcanic activity close to Earth's first lakes, and meteors crashed down regularly importing new chemicals from space. New experiments about the chemical evolution of prebiotic amino acid linkages mimic mild conditions during the late Hadean Eon. Artist's depiction. Credit: Getty Images / contract necessary for usage, distribution or reuse

A mural on the origin of life celebrates famous experimental milestones in the science that tries to explain how chemicals evolved into the first building blocks of life on an Earth before life existed. The NSF Center for Chemical Evolution headquartered at Georgia Tech has adopted this banner as a symbol. Credit: Painted by Christine He and David Fialho for Georgia Tech

Loren Williams, a professor in Georgia Tech's School of Chemistry and Biochemistry researches at Georgia Tech's Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience. Credit: Allison Carter 

Moran Frenkel-Pinter is NASA postdoctoral researcher at the NSF/NASA Center for Chemical Evolution headquartered at Georgia Tech and led by Nick Hud.