Kahr Group Research in BBC Examination of "Clay Crystals" Theory of the Origin of Life

bartmain.jpgThe BBC celebrated the anniversary of an alternative theory of the origin of life, in the article "The Idea That Life Began as Clay Crystals is 50 Years Old," by Martha Henriques.  In 1966, Chemist Graham Cairns-Smith  first proposed the radical theory that life on earth began with simple crystals rather than DNA.  The author looks at research on the topic, including that of NYU Chemistry Professor Bart Kahr's group.  After becoming intrigued with Carins-Smith's notion and the criticism it received without having been tested, Kahr "wanted to track how mother crystals pass on their traits to daughter crystals, to find out whether inheritance might work in clay minerals."  The paper, entitled, "Test of Cairns-Smith's Crystal-as-Genes Hyphothesis" was published in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Faraday Discussions in 2007, when Kahr was at the University of Washington.  Among its authors is recent alumnus John Freudenthal, who remained with the Kahr Group at NYU.  Although the theory remains controversial and unproven, it also remains of interest and an area for future experimentation.

Updated on 08/24/2016