Essays on Science and SocietyPERCEPTIONS IN SCIENCE

Prebiotic Soup--Revisiting the Miller Experiment

Science  02 May 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5620, pp. 745-746
DOI: 10.1126/science.1085145

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Modern research in prebiotic chemistry effectively began with a publication of a paper in Science 50 years ago by Stanley L. Miller on the spark discharge synthesis of amino acids and other compounds using a mixture of reduced gases that were thought to represent the components of the atmosphere on the primitive Earth. On the anniversary of this milestone publication, Bada and Lazcano provide an account of the events surrounding the publication of the paper and discuss the historical studies that led up to the Miller experiment.