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Two chemicals in Earth’s primordial soup ‘allowed the first life to form’

Trent Stubbs '20 and Greg Springsteen
Trent Stubbs '20 (left) and Chemistry Professor Greg Springsteen (right) take a break from the lab and the citric acid cycle.

Trent Stubbs, a 2020 Furman University alumnus, and his mentor Furman Chemistry Professor Greg Springsteen, have found a simple reaction between two chemicals in “Earth’s primordial soup” billions of years ago may have led to the first form of metabolism. Their work, with substantial input from scientists at The Scripps Research Institute, was published in Nature Chemistry.

Joe Pinkstone, writing for United Kingdom publication Mail Online, delved further into the paper. The two chemicals, glyoxylate and pyruvate, “may have laid the foundations for the emergence of what we would come to know as the Krebs cycle,” wrote Pinkstone, who also offered background on the cycle and the scientist for whom it is named.

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