The Miller Experiment: Lightning may have created the building blocks of life.

In 1952, Stanley Miller conducted an experiment to see if he could create organic compounds from inorganic compounds.  To do this he tried to create conditions similar to what earth might have been like before life emerged on a primitive Earth.  A mixture of water vapor, methane, ammonia, and hydrogen in the presence of electrical discharge (lightning) caused the water to turn red.  This color change was due to the presence of organic compounds.  The compounds generated by this method were ran on paper chromatogram and some were determined to be amino acids when compared to chromatograms of known compounds.  Following Miller's death, examination of sealed vials revealed that Miller actually generated many more amino acids than originally reported. 

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