Searching High and Low for the Origins of Life

Hot, bubbling fissures in the deep, sunless ocean seem unlikely places for life at all, let alone life’s origin. Yet recent studies have shown that two essential ingredients — amino acids and primitive cell membranes — can form spontaneously and reliably near the hydrothermal vents found in seafloors. The discoveries bolster a hypothesis about life’s origins that some scientists have supported for decades.

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