Sunday, August 24, 2008

This week in OOL

As an example of how fast the abiogenesis literature is growing, here are two articles from the Aug 15, 2008 issue of Science that are both of interest.

The first is on the late Archean redox state of the oceans:

Donald E. Canfield, Simon W. Poulton, Andrew H. Knoll, Guy M. Narbonne, Gerry Ross, Tatiana Goldberg, and Harald Strauss
2008 "Ferruginous Conditions Dominated Later Neoproterozoic Deep-Water Chemistry" Science 15 August 2008: 949-952.

"Low sulfur input caused the deeper ocean to become anoxic and rich in ferrous iron 750 million years ago, a reversal from the more oxidizing conditions of the previous 1 billion years."

Now this might not seem related to OOL research, but it is an intersting set of observations about the stratification of the oceans which will lead to better measurement of the deep ocean redox and sulfur/iron economies. This is of great significance to OOL.

The other article is;

T. R. Kulp, S. E. Hoeft, M. Asao, M. T. Madigan, J. T. Hollibaugh, J. C. Fisher, J. F. Stolz, C. W. Culbertson, L. G. Miller, and R. S. Oremland
2008 "Arsenic(III) Fuels Anoxygenic Photosynthesis in Hot Spring Biofilms from Mono Lake, California" Science 15 August 2008: 967-970.

"A primitive form of photosynthesis in which arsenic is the electron donor occurs in purple bacteria in a California lake, perhaps a relic of early life forms."

This is of more direct OOL interest, suggesting a new anoxic metabolism pathway.

No comments: