Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A 21st century adaptation of the Miller-Urey origin of life experiments

Date:
January 21, 2014
Source:
Journal of Visualized Experiments (JOVE)
Summary:
Scientists have developed a modern approach to a famed experiment that explored one of the most intriguing research questions facing scientists today —- the origin of life on Earth.

Miller-Urey experiments study the abiotic synthesis of organic compounds by creating an environment similar to that of the early earth. An electric discharge is applied to a mixture of gases representing the early earth's atmosphere and lightening. This is done in the presence of a liquid water reservoir, representing the early oceans, as well as with an apparatus simulating evaporation and precipitation.
Credit: JoVE;The Journal of Visualized Experiments

Today, January 21, JoVE, the Journal of Visualized Experiments, published a modern approach to a famed experiment that explored one of the most intriguing research questions facing scientists today -- the origin of life on earth.

Related Articles


The protocol, titled Conducting Miller-Urey Experiments, is composed of a modern and simplified approach to the method used by Dr. Stanley Miller and Dr. Harold Urey in 1953. Their research evaluated the possibility of organic compounds important for the origin of life to have been formed abiologically on early Earth.

"The results of this study showed that amino acids, the building blocks of life, could be formed under primitive Earth conditions," said Eric Parker of the original Miller-Urey Experiments. Parker is one of the researchers behind the simplified procedure, which he and his team developed at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Scientists from NASA -- one of whom, Jeffrey Bada, was once a student of Dr. Miller's -- and the Tokyo Institute of Technology were also involved.

"Miller was hesitant to encourage people to repeat the experiment due to the risk of inducing an explosion," said Parker, explaining why his lab chose to publish their version of the experiment in JoVE's signature step-by-step video format. "Often times, after reading a methods description it may not be fully clear how a certain research task was carried out," he said, ." ..Therefore, this article was written to inform interested researchers how to conduct the experiment safely, in part, by giving precise instructions on evacuating [ignitable gasses like oxygen, methane and hydrogen from] the reaction apparatus before initiating the spark."

Despite these dangers, Parker said, there remains much interest among scientists to recreate the Miller-Urey experiment and to perform variations of it for testing new research ideas. He and his colleagues are preparing to publish a second article comparing their novel spark-discharge experimental results to original samples from the 1958 Miller-Urey cyanamide spark-discharge study that followed the landmark paper.

In the meantime, Parker and his colleagues hope that their JoVE video will encourage more research with Miller-Urey type experiments. Such efforts could help answer key questions in the origin of life field, such as which prebiotic conditions may have facilitated the synthesis of specific organic compounds believed to be important for life, Parker said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Journal of Visualized Experiments (JOVE). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Parker, E. T., Cleaves, J. H., Burton, A. S., Glavin, D. P., Dworkin, J. P., Zhou, M., et al. Conducting Miller-Urey Experiments. J. Vis. Exp., (83), e51039 DOI: 10.3791/51039

Cite This Page:

Journal of Visualized Experiments (JOVE). "A 21st century adaptation of the Miller-Urey origin of life experiments." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140121092738.htm>.
Journal of Visualized Experiments (JOVE). (2014, January 21). A 21st century adaptation of the Miller-Urey origin of life experiments. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140121092738.htm
Journal of Visualized Experiments (JOVE). "A 21st century adaptation of the Miller-Urey origin of life experiments." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140121092738.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Discovery Of 'Dragon' Dinosaur In China Could Explain Myths

Discovery Of 'Dragon' Dinosaur In China Could Explain Myths

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) A long-necked dinosaur from the Jurassic Period was discovered in China. Researchers think it could answer mythology questions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battle of Waterloo Artefacts Go on Display at Windsor Castle

Battle of Waterloo Artefacts Go on Display at Windsor Castle

AFP (Jan. 29, 2015) Artefacts from the Battle of Waterloo go on display at Windsor Castle to mark the 200th anniversary of the momentous battle. The exhibition includes contemporary prints, drawings and personal belongings of French Emperor Napoleon. Duration: 00:31 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mideast Skull Find Sheds Light on Human Ancestors' Trek

Mideast Skull Find Sheds Light on Human Ancestors' Trek

AFP (Jan. 29, 2015) A 55,000-year-old partial skull found in the Middle East gives clues to when our ancestors left their African homeland, and strengthens theories that they co-habited with Neanderthals. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Say Earliest Snakes Lived Alongside The Dinosaurs

Scientists Say Earliest Snakes Lived Alongside The Dinosaurs

Newsy (Jan. 28, 2015) Wrongly categorized as lizard fossils, snake fossils now show the reptile could have developed earlier than we thought — 70 million years earlier. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins