DNA Molecule


Soon after the Earth's creation, living cells began growing in deep-sea volcanic vents, sucking energy from the chemical brew that erupted from the ocean floor.

The most successful cells used string-like DNA molecules to store their precious genetic information. Working like tiny computer programs, the DNA sequences contained instructions for assembling the proteins that powered and maintained cell activity. Each set of instructions is called a "gene."

The ladder-like molecules could also split apart and duplicate themselves, passing the information to new generations, and creating a complex toolkit of genes.

It took a billion years to develop new chemical pathways that could tap the power of the sun.

Plants used sunlight to combine carbon dioxide and water into oxygen, saving the carbon to form sugars that could be stored for energy.


The Earth would be transformed by thick mats of green algae that slowly grew into mountains called stromatalies.   As oxygen accumulated, the iron in the rocks began to rust and our planet developed a rich oxidizing atmosphere that could support more complex life -- active animal cells that use oxygen to burn sugar, yielding enough energy to move around purposefully.

Bacterial Mats