The 1953 Stanley L. Miller Experiment: Fifty Years of Prebiotic Organic Chemistry

  title={The 1953 Stanley L. Miller Experiment: Fifty Years of Prebiotic Organic Chemistry},
  author={Antonio Lazcano and Jeffrey L. Bada},
  journal={Origins of life and evolution of the biosphere},
  • A. Lazcano, J. Bada
  • Published 2004
  • Biology
  • Origins of life and evolution of the biosphere
The field of prebiotic chemistry effectively began with a publicationin 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 landmark publication, weprovide here an accounting of the events leading to the publication of the paper. We also discuss the historical aspects that lead up to the… 

Miller-Urey and Beyond: What Have We Learned About Prebiotic Organic Synthesis Reactions in the Past 60 Years?

Questions remain, however, concerning whether the conditions that allow synthesis of these compounds in the laboratory accurately simulate those that might have been present on the early Earth, and a closer convergence between plausible prebiotic conditions and laboratory simulations remains a challenge for experimentalists.

New insights into prebiotic chemistry from Stanley Miller's spark discharge experiments.

  • J. Bada
  • Biology
    Chemical Society reviews
  • 2013
Recent state-of-the-art analyses carried out on archived samples of Miller's original experiments have found that over 40 different amino acids and amines were synthesized, demonstrating the potential robust formation of important biologic compounds under possible cosmogeochemical conditions.

New insights on prebiotic chemistry from plasma kinetics

A way of possible future progress is suggested, which consists in framing the experience of Miller and Urey in the context of the kinetics of ionized gas, or plasma, and making it possible to look at the elementary processes that lead to the formation of excited species and ions at the base of the cascade of subsequent reactions.

Prebiotic chemistry: a new modus operandi

Here, systems chemistry is exemplified by finding common conditions under which chemical subsystems generate nucleotides and lipids in a compatible and potentially synergistic way, which hint at a post-meteoritic impact origin of life scenario.

The Concept of Chemical Evolution Before Oparin

A new scientific area dealing with the origin of life was born in the 1870s when evolutionists realized that processes of abiogenesis were necessary to complete Darwin’s theory of evolution.

The emergence of life : from chemical origins to synthetic biology

The conceptual framework of the research on the origin of life on Earth includes approaches to the definitions of life, self-organization, autopoiesis, and the logic of cellular life.

Prebiotic Chemistry: What We Know, What We Don't

  • H. Cleaves
  • Biology
    Evolution: Education and Outreach
  • 2012
The ease of formation of bioorganic compounds under plausible prebiotic conditions suggests that these molecules were present in the primitive terrestrial environment, and it is likely that the infall of comets, meteorites, and interplanetary dust particles, as well as submarine hydrothermal vent synthesis, may have contributed to prebiotics organic evolution.

Prebiotic chemical refugia: multifaceted scenario for the formation of biomolecules in primitive Earth.

Prebiotic chemical refugium should be understood as a geographic site in prebiotic Earth on which certain chemical elements were accumulated in higher proportion than expected, facilitating the production of basic building blocks for biomolecules, once the physicochemical conditions of the authors' planet changed periodically.

The possible roles of water in the prebiotic chemical evolution of DNA.

  • Shuxun Cui
  • Biology
    Physical chemistry chemical physics : PCCP
  • 2010
Following the clues provided by recent single-molecule studies on DNA, the possible roles of water in the prebiotic chemical evolution are elucidated to elucidate the uniformity of biochemistry for all terrestrial life.

The Possible Roles of Water in the Prebiotic Chemical Evolution of DNA: An Approach by Single Molecule Studies

Following the clues provided by recent single-molecule studies on DNA, the possible roles of water in the prebiotic chemical evolution are elucidated to elucidate the uniformity of biochemistry for all terrestrial life.



A production of amino acids under possible primitive earth conditions.

In this study, an apparatus was built to circulate CHI4, NH3, H2O, and H2 past an electric discharge, and the resulting mixture has been tested for amino acids by paper chromatography.

Germs in Space

In examining how exobiology's creators positioned their work in comparison to other space sciences as well as science fiction, this case study highlights how cultural and political imperatives entered science through practice and narrative during the Cold War.

Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid

The determination in 1953 of the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), with its two entwined helices and paired organic bases, was a tour de force in X-ray crystallography and opened the way for a deeper understanding of perhaps the most important biological process.

[The origin of life].

There are a number of writings from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries describing the transformation of water, stones and other inanimate objects into reptiles, birds and beasts.

Mystery of Mysteries: Is Evolution a Social Construction?

With the Sokal hoax - the publication of a prominent physicist's pseudo-article in a leading journal of cultural studies - the status of science moved sharply from debate to dispute. Is science

The heritage of Copernicus : theories "pleasing to the mind"

From the Preface: This book represents the implementation of a decision adopted by the Council of the National Academy of Sciences relating to the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the birth of

[The reaction occurring in CO2-H20 mixtures in a high-frequency electric arc].

The Reaction Occurring in CO2-H20 Mixtures in a High-Frequency Electric Arc and the Factors Involved in the Variations in Virulence of Rickettsiae are analyzed.

Production of Some Organic Compounds under Possible Primitive Earth Conditions1