Abiotic reactions, not caused by living beings, are a missing key to determine where life may have emerged. Key gases of a prebiotic environment (N2, H2, CH4, CH3SH) associated with polyaromatic carbonaceous materials and nanodiamonds have been identified within samples from the Atlantis massif located along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.These varied ingredients remain trapped until they are remobilized at shallower depths, where they can participate in the formation of complex organic molecules.These results revive the theory of a hydrothermal origin for the emergence of life on Earth.
The microscopy part of this work was done at CLyM by Clémentine FELLAH and was published in Nature Communication in 2023.
Andreani, M., Montagnac, G., Fellah, C. et al. The rocky road to organics needs drying. Nat Commun 14, 347 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-36038-6
The microscope teams hope that Clémentine will obtain a CNRS distinction for her work (with her excellent colleague G. Montagnac.)