eli5 – If RNA was created by a soup of chemicals, is it possible that it’s being randomly created in pockets around the world? and could those random rna strands create life out of nowhere?


Sorry If these questions are stupid, I was just randomly thinking about how rna started.

In: 329

Possibly yes. Likely? Probably not. The reason it is unlikely is because it is apparently rare. In what we’ve catalogued of the universe so far, small as it is, we haven’t found much. We also haven’t created any in the lab spontaneously; we can engineer the rna by putting the pieces together, but it’s not like we can make a “soup” and just wait.

Here is a thought. I can synthetically make RNA given i have the correct reagents. Adenine, Guanine, Cysteine, and Uracil structurally aren’t to complicated. It is hard to say how they can be spontaneously made from just a barren waste land.

But in our organic rich environment where crude oil has millions of different organic compounds previously made from past life, RNA is most definely apart of that mixture. Just by sheer chance these structure can generate.

However the question is, how does it start when you have a Mars like environment. You need the exact right conditions to get yourself from CO2 a common source of carbon to these chemicals. But I would say it is possible given millions of years and different reactions. Its not like it uses any different elements on earth the core elements are common its just the structure is unique to life itself.

So yes RNA is being generated spontaneously but it is just from biochemicals already being in the solution rather than when it first generated in conditions lacking biomolucles.

RNA is easily created by random reactions. But it probably isn’t producing living things frequently. That process took a while on Earth, and we’ve never observed it to have happened anywhere else.

Even if it did, it would almost certainly be out-competed by existing life, which has had billions of years to evolve. We know this because all known life today appears to descend from a single common ancestor. That means no new life in the billions of years since that ancestor has managed to compete well enough to survive in a world of existing life.

Yeah, RNA can be created randomly in pockets, but since there’s already life on Earth, that life will quickly consume the RNA strands, not allowing them a chance to eventually turn into life. The early Earth had no such “predators” (as it were) so they were able to change over time into life.

Well a few things.

1. When you have random RNA being generated, the chances of it forming a self replicating molecule are ridiculously small. When it happened on earth, it took potentially a billion years.
2. The conditions that existed on earth when life developed no longer exist. There are no longer blood-warm seas filled with tons of organic molecules. There may be some RNA being randomly made, but much less than during Earth’s early history.
3. Assuming a new form of life did spontaneously generate, it would have to compete with the existing forms of life. We know that when life first evolved, it wasn’t very efficient or “good” at living. It took a long time to evolve into the modern rugged, adaptable, and fast replicating forms it has today. A new form of life would probably get bullied out of existence by existing life forms.