Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.


The obsolete concept that plant and animal life arise from nonliving organic matter. Also known as autogenesis; spontaneous generation.



the theory of the origin of living organisms from inorganic substance. Until the middle of the 19th century, abiogenesis was understood as spontaneous generation, that is, the sudden origin of complex living organisms from nonliving matter. Thus, as late as the 17th century, people believed in the spontaneous generation of worms, fish, frogs, and even mice from dew, slime, and mud. However, the Italian scientist F. Redi showed in 1668 that maggots develop in putrid meat only from the eggs laid by flies. In the 18th century the Italian scientist L. Spallanzani demonstrated that microorganisms do not develop in thoroughly boiled broth. This was definitely proved in 1861 by the French scientist L. Pasteur, whose experiments, however, did not disprove the theory that abiogenesis could have taken place in earlier geological periods. F. Engels criticized biogenesis, that is, the theory of eternal life. He believed that life is a particular form of the movement of matter, arising at definite stages of its development.

At present, most scientists believe that the origin of life is a lengthy process that took place on earth in distant geological periods, when conditions (the temperature; the chemical composition of the gas, liquid, and solid layers of the earth; and radiation) were vastly different from those of today. One of the best-known theories of abiogenesis was developed by the Soviet scientist A. I. Oparin.


References in periodicals archive ?
And I am sure that many northeast music bands want to go out and play," added Arenla, vocalist, Abiogenesis.
Although Joyce may have entertained Aristotle's theory of abiogenesis at age twenty-one, Rabate assumes that twelve years later, when Joyce transfers his notebook's question about excrements, children, and lice to the final chapter of Portrait, no change has taken place in his conception of lice -- no evolution of his thinking about lice nor the parasitism they represent.
The explanation for abiogenesis, although it invokes processes that include one analogous to natural selection, also contains others, including a more thorough understanding of the second law of thermodynamics than that given above.
Nowadays, many workers believe that problem of origin of life is not of abiogenesis but of chemical energetics.
These three vignettes highlight a disturbing trend in modern thinking about abiogenesis and the evolution of metabolism.
Similarly, "abiosis" was used for a while, but the term was viewed as "too close to the terms abiotic and abiogenesis which are used in a very different sense .
However, the universe could be strategically arranged so that entropy-increasing processes are restricted unless they either engender (via abiogenesis and evolution by natural selection) or support (via the direct internal heating of oceanic planets) advanced aquatic lifeforms.
While this may be an argument of the improbability of building order, the need for capturing sunlight energy into usable biological energy is the crucial challenge to abiogenesis.
Swagmoni Mahanta and Rosy Brahma from Assam, Lau Majaw from Shillong, Somersoult from Meghalaya and Abiogenesis from Nagaland, enthralled the audiences with their performances.
Berkowitz considers the movement within cosmology, the origins of elements and essential compounds like water, abiogenesis, the distribution of life-essential elements in the universe, and studying space-dust in a biologically evolutionary context.
Porphyrins are prebiotic molecules which are involved in abiogenesis and origin of life [1-5].
Such trials become the basis for subsequent efforts, so that the negative space in Abiogenesis is reversed in Schema and Chroma, 2010, which fills in the area around the former's replicating geometric formations with green paint.