The Primordial Soup theory has been around for at least five decades. Oparin believed that the conditions and chemical make-up of the Earth’s oceans were optimal for the development of life on Earth. Scientists all over the world have been attempting to confirm this theory ever since.
Elaborate experiments have been performed using understood information about the nature of the Primordial seas. Experimental oceans were set up with the exact chemical formulations reported to have been present at the time life was perceived to have begun. The scientists also simulated the atmospheric conditions believed to have been present at the time. The atmospheric gaseous make-up was very different at that time and it was extremely energetic, producing abundant lightening.
With the simulated lightening striking the simulated Primordial seas repeatedly, the scientists were able to form some organic materials in the waters. They even saw formation of what they called a primitive cell membrane. This consisted of a simple film of organic material that simply did not mix with the hydrophilic materials of the sea water. They were very proud of this accomplishment… until microscopes were built that exposed the very complex nature of the real cell membranes.
It turns out that life is much more complex than they ever expected at the time they proposed the Primordial Soup Theory. Each new technology that allows us to glimpse into the intricate workings of living cells merely confirms its complexities. The cell membrane is intensely specific in its form and chemistry. The millions of chemical reactions occurring in the cell membrane alone are so complex that scientists are nowhere near completely understanding them. There will be jobs for scientists in this field for a very long time.
Embedded in the cell membranes are proteins integral to the function of the membranes. Without these proteins, the membrane would not function and the cell would die. The scientists were hoping that these proteins would form spontaneously in the Primordial Sea mixture with the lightening. What we know now is that it is impossible for that to happen.
Each protein is made up of thousands of amino acids. These amino acids are linked together in the order dictated by RNA strands. The RNA strands are made off of the templates of DNA. After the amino acids are linked together in the specified order, the chain folds up on itself in a very specific order based on opposite charges being attracted to each other. Proteins, then, have very specific shapes uniquely designed for their purpose. If even one amino acid is missing or in the wrong order, the shape of the new protein will be wrong and it will fail to function. Many diseases are the result of just one protein failing to function. Cells must have the proper proteins with the proper amino acid sequences to live. What this means is that cells must have DNA to live.
The problem is that DNA does not just spontaneously form. This is why proteins do not spontaneously form in the Primordial Soup. DNA is required for life to occur. No matter how long they ran the experiment, DNA refused to spontaneously form.
So, how did DNA form? That is a very good question. It obviously has to have the perfect order for millions of different proteins. It is a question that scientists are still mulling. Some scientists have gone so far as to speculate that DNA came to Earth riding on meteorites and fell into the Primordial Seas. In fact, that is one of the latest explanations of how life formed on Earth.
There is only one question…. If DNA came from another planet, how was it formed there? The instructions for life, which had to be perfect to cause life as we know it, had to be formed somehow. Only one thing is sure. DNA, protein and life did NOT spontaneously form in the Primordial Seas as the Primordial Soup theory expounds.