While no doubt the matter will continue to be debated, British scientists seem to have made some progress regarding the origins of life. Via Fox, the Agence France-Presse reports on “a paper published in the British journal Nature by University of Manchester chemists:”
The team, led by Professor John Sutherland, venture that an RNA-like synthesis took place through a series of chemical reactions and an important intermediate substance.
Their lab model uses starting materials and environmental conditions that are believed to have been around in early Earth and are also used in the standard “RNA first” scenario.
Their theory starts with a simple sugar called glycolaldehyde, which reacts with cyanmide (a compound of cyanide and ammonia) and phosphate to produce an intermediate compound called 2-aminooxazole.
Gentle warming from the Sun and cooling at night help purify the 2-aminooxazole, turning it into a plentiful precursor which contributes the sugar and base portions of the new ribonucleotide molecule.
The presence of phosphate and ultraviolet light from the Sun complete the synthesis.
God’s Gap may have just shrunk a bit more. Of course, even if scientists succeed in creating new life in a laboratory setting, even that will not prevent (the relatively sophisticated) creationists from imagining the hand of God at work in the origins and evolution of life.