Abiogenesis Definition, Overview, Theory of Abiogenesis

Abiogenesis Definition

Abiogenesis is the formation of organic molecules by forces other than organisms. While organisms can form carbon-carbon bonds relatively easily to enzymes, doing so would otherwise require large inputs of energy. Early in the history of science, this fact was used to dispute evolutionism, as it could not be imagined how organic molecules could be produced from non-organic sources.

The theory of abiogenesis was given much credit as an evolutionary theory when Stanley Miller attempted to prove his famous experiment the inorganic beginning of life.

Miller added various gases that existed in the early stages of the Earth. These gases were combined into a chamber and a large amount of electric shock a week. After the test, Miller will analyze the samples. They found that the molecules had begun the process of combining into more advanced molecules. Miller proved that over billions of years, these molecules can combine into self-replicating versions, such as RNA and DNA. Further laboratory experiments confirmed these findings in later decades. Several very precise experiments have provided sufficient evidence that many molecular structures of cells can be constructed from inorganic solutions with the input of energy. Both polypeptides (proteins) and RNA have been synthesized in this way.

Abiogenesis Definition, Overview, Theory of Abiogenesis

The synthesis of both proteins and RNAs in the laboratory is an important piece of evidence for the abioticness theory. However, the degradation of these molecules can lead to the self-replication of RNA molecules. Both protein and RNA molecules are known to act as catalysts. These molecules produced by abiogenesis can catalyze important reactions that can lead to RNA replication and the production of complexes such as ribosomes, which translate proteins from RNA messages. The formation of these two molecules through abiogenesis proves that abiogenesis can be the first step in theory. Because of the large amount of energy used, some scientists argue that the abiogenesis theory does not consider the amount of electricity and other energy sources in the early atmosphere.


One of the modern evolutionary theories of how life originated is abiogenesis. It referred to the now-infamous hypothesis of spontaneous generation. It was once believed that complex living organisms such as mice, maggots, etc. can arise spontaneously from unauthorized substances. The notion used to be popular that it was held for a long time by early thinkers for many years until experimented by Louis Pasteur and others proved it wrong. Now, this theory has been superseded by biogenesis, which claims that living things can only be produced by another living thing and not by a living thing. The modern hypothesis of abiogenesis is now restricted in the supposition that relatively simple, early forms of life originated from nonorganic materials, such as organic compounds, and that the process was ultimately not a single event due to this transition, and was gradual. Has been going on for millions of years.

Abiogenesis Definition, Overview, Theory of Abiogenesis

Obsolete abiogenesis

Spontaneous generation refers to pre-existing popular thinking that complex living things (such as maggots) can be formed from inanimate objects within minutes, hours, days, or years. It can also be related to the process that led to the formation or development of a living thing from a non-living thing.

Aristotle is one of the most influential proponents of the theory of spontaneous generation. They believed that plants and animals breed by spontaneous generation apart from sexual and parthenogenetic means. According to his book, History of Animals, while some animals can grow from their parents, others can grow spontaneously. ‘1 Jean Baptiste van Helmont 1580-1616, a Flemish chemist, physiologist, and physician, brought a recipe to make mice. According to them, what would turn into mice after about 21 days, allowing them to react in shortcuts with the smoke emanating from the wheat? As her recipe for the scorpion, the material was a carved brick filled with basil. These were just one of the prevalent ideas about how life can come out of inanimate objects.

In a spontaneous generation, people thought that a living organism could appear from non-living materials, without the need for a biological precursor, such as a parent. It became an obsolete idea when it was verified by verifiable experiments, particularly Francesco Ready 1626–1697, the Italian physician and naturalist who was the earliest denier of the spontaneous generation, and Lewis 1822–1895, a French biologist. , Microbiologists, and chemists who refine it. With the advent of laboratory equipment and microbial techniques, empirical evidence demonstrated that living things cannot be spontaneously generated from inanimate objects. Only living things are capable of reproducing another life. Thus, the theory of spontaneous generation became obsolete and was suppressed by the principle of biogenesis. 

The basic principle of biogenesis depends on the idea that life arises from similar life forms. The terms abiogenesis and biogenesis were coined by Thomas Henry Huxley in 1825–1895. He proposed that the term endogeneity is used to refer to the process of spontaneous generation while the term biogenesis, to the process where life arises from similar life.

Modern abiogenesis

The modern hypothesis of abiogenesis holds that primitive life on Earth began with lifeless matter and took millions of years to transpire. This theory is a widely accepted basis on the origin of life.

This is different from obsolete abiogenesis. In its modern context, it speaks of living things, which were not as complex or elaborate as life forms today.

How abiogenesis came to be is still a mystery. Presumably, this involved various processes such as self-replication, self-assembly, autocatalysis, and cell membrane formation. Life is built on four major biomolecules: carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, and nucleic acids. Among these biomolecules, nucleic acid, RNA, can act as both genetic material and a catalyst. Thus, it is speculated that the possibility of primitive life was RNA-based, and life emerging from the inanimate came as a gradual process that took millions of years. And, the change of inanimate matter into a living entity has not been repeated since. Initially from simple forms, living things became more and more complex and they became diverse. They have become more elaborate and sophisticated, as evidenced by the development of their wide physical and genetic properties.

Abiogenesis Theory

Abiogenesis theory is the theory that all life began with inorganic molecules, which are recombined in different ways due to energy input. These distinct forms eventually formed a self-replicating molecule, which may have used other molecules produced by abiogenesis to initiate basic structures of life such as the cell.

Just as populations change over time in the evolution of organisms, the evolution of molecules involves the change of molecules over time. Scientists speculate that the first self-replicating molecules were possibly RNA molecules. Some RNA molecules have a known ability to catalyze the formation of new RNA molecules, as seen in the ribosomes of almost all of Earth’s creatures. One of these early RNA molecules formed the correct one so that it produced an RNA molecule that was similar to it. The concentration of this molecule in the prebiotic soup increased drastically, and the molecule interacted with itself, and some proteins formed around it also formed via abiogenesis.

Eventually, the RNA molecule acquired those mutations, allowing it to synthesize a protein that would produce more RNA. Other mutations led to the formation of proteins that synthesized particles of DNA from RNA. Thus, the genome of the modern organism was born. In millions of years of evolutionary history, the gradual changes in these molecules give rise to the complexity of life that we see today. Various scientists who study abiogenesis theory argue at the precise point that abiogenesis switches to biogenesis. Similar arguments can be seen as to whether viruses constitute living organisms or not. Abiogenesis is, by definition, simply the creation of organic molecules from inorganic sources. This is not necessarily where life begins.

Abiogenesis Definition, Overview, Theory of Abiogenesis


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Abiogenesis Definition, Overview, Theory of Abiogenesis

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