The scientists from the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) at Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan, in a new study, concluded that sodium chloride was the element that made possible the emergence of life on Earth. While it might sound banal that a simple ingredient like salt, which we use daily, have transformed our planet and gave birth to the life as we know it, the researchers are bringing some irrefutable arguments.
First, sodium chloride (or salt) is made of a 1:1 ratio of sodium and chloride ions, but the chloride ion is the one responsible for the life on Earth, according to the new study.
While the science has done a great job explaining the life on Earth evolutions and its diversification, in order to find out how the life itself emerged on our planet we need to go back the origins when a chaotic swirl of organic chemicals formed the first codes that would’ve given birth to life as we know it. That process is what scientists call the RNA world hypothesis.
Salt (Sodium Chloride) Made Life On Earth Possible
However, life needed a source of energy to rearrange compounds, and, without that energy, the first chemical compounds would’ve never arranged themselves to create the first, primitive genetic codes. Accordingly, the chemical compounds needed electricity which, according to some early studies, was provided by lightning strikes and asteroid impacts.
But the new study considers that both lightning strikes and asteroid impacts would have been futile without a vital ingredient, the chloride ions from salt (sodium chloride). According to the researchers, hydrogen cyanide, the fundamental RNA blocks, had to turn into cyanamide to generate life on Earth. That was possible thanks to the chloride ions in sodium chloride (salt), thanks to the electromagnetic fields they create.
“Our aim, therefore, was to develop a reaction network that produces simple sugars as well as cyanamide, and thereby many important precursors particularly for RNA synthesis in ‘one-pot,'” the researchers said in their study’s report.
Vadim is a passionate writer on various topics but especially on stuff related to health, technology, and science. Therefore, for Great Lakes Ledger, Vadim will cover health and Sci&Tech news.