how hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen create “life”


how hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen create “life”

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Carbon,because every living thing is based chemically on a carbon chain. Hydrogen and oxygen because water. And nitrogen because plant life depends on it. That’s as basic eli5 I can make this

We don’t know how life arose from non-living matter. The current theory is that, given enough time and the right conditions, atoms and molecules could bond to each other to form larger molecules, purely through luck. Repeat this process trillions of times, and you might get some simple proteins that arise. Repeat that process several trillion-trillion times, and you might get proteins that can interact with their surroundings; grab other molecules and force them to bond with each other to make proteins. Repeat that process several trillion-trillion times, and one of those proteins might start to self-replicate. That would be the start of what we might consider life.

Repeat the above process trillions of times, and you could end up with proteins that interact with each other, helping each other to make more of themselves. Some proteins might make “defensive” molecules to control their own environment, which would be the first cell membranes. Once there’s a cell membrane, proteins can specialize, because they are protected from whatever is outside the membrane. That means more complex proteins with more complex functions. Eventually a protein could be so specialized that all it does is make molecules that tell other proteins what to do; this would be the first RNA or DNA.

This seems like a loaded question, but at any rate:

– Hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen are not considered the sole “ingredients” required to “create” life.

– Various elements form molecules, macromolecules, and supramolecular assemblies, which in turn provide the underlying basis for biochemical, protein, and cellular interactions, ultimately giving rise to “life”.

– Some of the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood, but then the definition of “life” isn’t exactly clear or agreed upon either.

Life is basically just a self-sustaining chemical reaction. Back in the 1950s they did an experiment with mixing a bunch of gases/compounds that were proposed to exist during early Earth (ammonia, sulfur dioxide, methane, etc), exposing them to electric arc (lightning), heating, etc. They produced many different amino acids, which are the basic building blocks of proteins.

First you have to define “life”. There are dozens of definitions, but usually they involve consuming fuel/energy, maintaining order/integrity, growth, and reproduction.

Simple cells such as bacteria ( are built out of CHON and maybe some trace elements (I’m not sure), and qualify as “life” as I described it above.

If you’re asking how the first bacteria came into existence, that’s a different question, with many proposed answers. But one possibility is a cell forming when the right ingredients collected in a little pocket in a rock, exposed to sunlight and nutrients.