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12.177 Astrobiology, Origins and Early Evolution of Life (New)

Prereq: Chemistry (GIR), Biology (GIR), or permission of instructor
U (Spring)
12 Units

Provides an understanding of major areas of research into the problem of the origin of life on the early Earth from an astrobiological perspective. Topics include the timing, setting and conditions for the origin of life on the Hadean Earth; roles of planetary and extra-planetary processes; defining life; prebiotic chemistry; origins of nucleic acids and peptides; evolution of cellularity, replication, metabolism, and translation; establishment of the genetic code; biogenesis vs. ecogenesis; the nature of the last common ancestor of life; conceptualizing the "tree of life;" and the early evolution of the ancestors of bacteria, archaeal, and eukaryal lineages. Students taking graduate version complete an extra project.

G. Fournier

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Subject meets with 12.477