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Reactions during the Origins of Metabolism: Exploring the Transition from Abiotic to Biotic

May 25, 2023, noon - 1 p.m.
3853 Slichter Hall

Presented By:
Dr. Jessica Weber
Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech

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Prebiotic organic reactions are key for understanding the origins of life on Earth and how life could emerge on other worlds. Exploring chemical reaction networks in laboratory analog systems are also critical for understanding and differentiating between abiotic and biotic reactions as this can provide context for returned mission data and samples, ultimately facilitating life detection across the solar system. In this talk I will discuss work that explored a number of chemical experimental scenarios that address how complex metabolically-relevant reactions can be driven by various minerals in planetary analogs in the absence of complex enzymes. The results of this work can be useful for exploring abiotic/prebiotic chemistry under a variety of conditions, including those analogous to early Earth, Mars, and ocean worlds.