Phosphorus is an essential element of life. For a few decades, what’s been dubbed as “the phosphorus problem” has troubled researches on the origin of life. The part is one of the six significant chemical aspects of life, and it develops the RNA molecules and the backbone of DNA.
It also performs as the most valuable currency for energy in all cells and anchors the lipids that divide cells from their enclosing environment. Jonathan Toner, a research assistant professor from the University of Washington, detailed: “For 50 years, what’s called ‘the phosphate problem’ has plagued studies on the origin of life.”
The issue is that chemical reactions that realize the formation blocks of living things require a lot of phosphorus is scarce. The latest UW research identifies an answer to this issue in specific categories of lakes. So, the investigation centers on carbonate-abundant lakes, which develops in dry places within depressions that funnel water draining from the surrounding landscape.
Origin of Life Might Have Emerged From Lakes With High Amounts of Phosphorus
Due to high evaporation levels, the lake waters gather into alkaline and salty, or high-pH, solutions. Moreover, such types of lakes, also known as soda or alkaline lakes, are located on all continents. The researchers first searched for phosphorus measurements in existing carbonate-abundant lakes, such as Lake Magadi or Lonar Lake, in India. While the precise centering depends on where the fragments were taken and during what period.
The researchers identified that carbonate-abundant lakes possess almost 50,000 times phosphorus rates determined in seawater and other types of lakes. Such rich concentrations point to the presence of some specific, natural method that gathers phosphorus in those lakes.
David Catling, a UW professor of Earth&space sciences, stated: “The extremely high phosphate levels in these lakes and ponds would have driven reactions that put phosphorus into the molecular building blocks of RNA, proteins, and fats, all of which were needed to get life going.”