The cover story of the August Scientific American is about new evidence suggesting "volcanic pools" as the location for "first life" as opposed to deep sea smokers like "The Lost City".

I was under the impression that one of the strong arguments for the deep sea vents is that the DNA of the life there is some of the "oldest DNA" on the planet. I'm wondering how the authors would explain that. (Maybe life spread to every "nook and cranny" in a geological blink of an eye?)

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    $\begingroup$ Can you please give some reference to support your claims. You could add 1) the link to the article from the August Scientific American 2) a source that support your claim that strong arguments for the deep sea vents is that the DNA of the life there is some of the "oldest DNA" on the planet. especially so that the term "oldest DNA" is very unclear. $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Aug 7, 2017 at 1:18
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    $\begingroup$ Really, if you want to know how the authors of an article explain something, ask them. The question is really not on topic here, given the wooliness of your statement about "the oldest DNA on the planet". This is a Q&A forum for precise answerable questions about biology. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Aug 7, 2017 at 8:48
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    $\begingroup$ It's an interesting question, but I agree with David that the idea of "the oldest DNA" is a bit strange. The parts of origin-of-life theories about geology are generally about how to create the basic molecules of life (bases, sugars, lipids, etc). These molecular parts don't have an 'age' - so I would not expect to be able to date DNA to any particular location on Earth. $\endgroup$
    – gilleain
    Aug 7, 2017 at 12:25
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    $\begingroup$ Ah, reading the Sci. Am. article (scientificamerican.com/article/…), I see it is about the chemical 'signature' (sodium, potassium, zinc) - that makes sense, as that's about the only way you could infer the geology of life's origins. Perhaps the question could be re-framed as "What do we know about the geological origins of life?" or similar.[ here is the paper, btw : pnas.org/content/109/14/E821.abstract ] $\endgroup$
    – gilleain
    Aug 7, 2017 at 12:30
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, now that I've been wrung thru the wringer. I'm not sure what my original source was, but I probably worded my statement incorrectly. I think where i got the "oldest DNA" idea is from articles like this one pnas.org/content/110/27/11067.full.pdf supporting the idea that the "Last Universal Common Ancestor" came from a high temperature (ie. deep sea smoker) environment. I see upon further reading that this is still up for debate and I suppose "volcanic pools" were high temperature environments. $\endgroup$ Aug 15, 2017 at 14:27


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