17. Geochemical Origins of Life

  1. Andrew H. Knoll2,
  2. Donald E. Canfield3 and
  3. Kurt O. Konhauser4
  1. Robert M. Hazen

Published Online: 29 MAR 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118280874.ch17

Fundamentals of Geobiology

Fundamentals of Geobiology

How to Cite

Hazen, R. M. (2012) Geochemical Origins of Life, in Fundamentals of Geobiology (eds A. H. Knoll, D. E. Canfield and K. O. Konhauser), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118280874.ch17

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge MA 02138, USA

  2. 3

    Institute of Biology Nordic Center for Earth Evolution, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark

  3. 4

    Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E3, Canada

Author Information

  1. Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution of Washington, 5251 Broad Branch Road NW, Washington, DC 20015, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 29 MAR 2012
  2. Published Print: 20 APR 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118280812

Online ISBN: 9781118280874



  • geochemical origins of life;
  • life's origins, geochemical event sequence;
  • emergence, unifying concept in origins research;
  • biomolecule emergence;
  • emergence of macromolecules;
  • self-replicating systems;
  • natural selection;
  • three scenarios, and origins of life;
  • molecular evolution in labs, ‘RNA organism’ synthesis;
  • static geochemical, to evolving biochemical world, the gaps


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Introduction

  • Emergence as a unifying concept in origins research

  • The emergence of biomolecules

  • The emergence of macromolecules

  • The emergence of self-replicating systems

  • The emergence of natural selection

  • Three scenarios for the origins of life

  • Acknowledgements

  • References