PerspectiveEvolution

Energy at life's origin

Science  06 Jun 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6188, pp. 1092-1093
DOI: 10.1126/science.1251653

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Summary

Energy-releasing chemical reactions are at the core of the living process of all organisms. These bioenergetic reactions have myriad substrates and products, but their main by-product today is adenosine triphosphate (ATP), life's primary currency of metabolic energy. Bioenergetic reactions have been running in a sequence of uninterrupted continuity since the first prokaryotes arose on Earth more than 3.5 billion years ago, long before there was oxygen to breathe (1). Under what conditions did these bioenergetic processes first evolve?