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What is Abiogenesis?

MVSAT 2024

Abiogenesis Meaning- The formation of organic molecules by factors other than living organisms is known as abiogenesis. Although enzymes make it relatively easy for organisms to form carbon-carbon bonds, doing so without them takes a lot of energy. This fact was used to refute evolution early in the history of science because it could not be imagined how organic molecules could be formed from non-organic sources. When Stanley Miller performed his famous experiment to prove the inorganic beginning of existence, he gave a lot of credit to the theory of abiogenesis as an evolutionary theory.

Miller combined a variety of gases that were thought to exist in Earth's early stages. These gases were mixed in a chamber and shocked for weeks at a time with a huge amount of electricity. Miller would examine the samples after the trial. He discovered that the molecules had started to combine to form more complex molecules. Miller theorised that these molecules could combine over billions of years to form self-replicating versions like RNA and DNA. In later decades, further experimental studies backed up these results.

Many of the molecular structures of cells could be produced from inorganic solutions with the addition of energy, according to several very precise experiments. This method has been used to make polypeptides (proteins) and RNA.

The ability to synthesise proteins and RNA in the lab is critical evidence for the abiogenesis theory. It's possible that these molecules' abiogenesis will result in self-replicating RNA molecules. Catalysts are known to exist in both proteins and RNA molecules. These molecules, which are formed during abiogenesis, could catalyse important reactions such as RNA replication and the formation of complexes like the ribosome, which translate RNA messages into proteins. The abiogenesis development of these two molecules demonstrates that the first steps in abiogenesis theory may have occurred.

What is Abiogenesis Theory and Why is it Important?

The Abiogenesis theory states that all life began as inorganic molecules that recombined in various forms as a result of energy input. These various forms gradually coalesced into a self-replicating molecule, which may have used the other molecules created by abiogenesis to begin forming life's fundamental structures, such as the cell.

In the same way, as populations evolve over time in the evolution of animals, molecules change over time in the evolution of molecules. Scientists believe that RNA molecules were the first self-replicating molecules. As seen in the ribosomes of nearly all living things on Earth, certain RNA molecules have the ability to catalyse the formation of new RNA molecules. One of these early RNA molecules shaped in such a way that it created an identical RNA molecule. Via abiogenesis, the concentration of this molecule in the prebiotic soup increased dramatically, and the molecule interacted with itself and some proteins developed around it.

Eventually, mutations in the RNA molecule enabled it to synthesise a protein that produced more RNA. Other mutations resulted in the development of proteins that synthesised DNA strands from RNA. As a result, the modern organism's genome was born. Changes in these molecules steadily evolved through millions of years of evolutionary history, resulting in the complexity of life we see today. Various scientists who research abiogenesis theory disagree about when abiogenesis transitions to biogenesis. In the debate about whether or not viruses are living beings, similar claims can be found. Hence, Abiogenesis meaning can be summed up as a process of creating organic molecules from inorganic molecules.

Abiogenesis Theory- Experimental Basis

Stanley Miller, an American graduate student, and Harold Urey, his graduate advisor, agreed to test the Oparin-Haldane abiogenesis hypothesis by recreating an early Earth system in the early 1950s. They discharged sparks from the mixture after mixing the basic compounds and elements from the theory in the air.

They were able to detect amino acids produced during the simulation by analysing the chemical reaction products. Later experiments attempting to establish replicating molecules from amino acids were confirmed by this proof that the first part of the theory was right. These experiments were a failure.

Following the Miller-Urey experiment, researchers discovered that the prebiotic atmosphere of early Earth contained more oxygen and fewer other essential substances than the sample used in the experiment. This made people wonder if the conclusions were still true.

Since then, studies using a corrected atmosphere composition have discovered organic molecules including amino acids, confirming the initial findings.

Comparison of Biogenesis and Abiogenesis 




Cell division; flies developing from larvae; baby mice created by adult males and females

Spontaneous generation

Experimental Evidence

Yes, seen in the lab

No, never observed

Time period

Mid-19th century to present

Early Greeks to mid-19th century

Originator of the theory

Louis Pasteur


Theory states that life comes from

Living things

Non-living things

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FAQs on Abiogenesis

1. What Do You Mean By Biogenesis?

Ans. The production of new living organisms is referred to as biogenesis. Biogenesis is a term coined by Louis Pasteur that refers to the idea that complex living things can only come from other living things by reproduction. That is, life does not emerge spontaneously from non-living matter, contrary to the belief of spontaneous generation. Pasteur's argument was based on Virchow's doctrine Omnis cellula e cellula (all cells from cells), which was based on Robert Remak's research.

2. Is Abiogenesis Spontaneous Generation?

Ans. Abiogenesis and spontaneous generation also argue that life will emerge from non-living matter, but their specifics are vastly different. Although abiogenesis is a legitimate hypothesis that has yet to be disproven, spontaneous generation is a long-held concept that has been disproven.

There are three main differences between the two hypotheses-


Spontaneous Generation

It just occurs once in a while. It happened at least once, about 3.5 billion years ago, and it hasn't happened since.

In modern times, it happens often. When meat is left to rot, for example, it attracts flies.

Abiogenesis is responsible for the emergence of the most primitive forms of life. These may be as basic as protein molecule replication.

Complex species such as flies, birds, and even humans are born from spontaneous generation.

These basal life forms give rise to higher species.

Higher species do not originate from other life forms; they are the products of spontaneous generation.

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