Questions about the origin of life have been asked from the earliest times. In the IV century; C Aristotle defended the thesis of the spontaneous generation of living beings. Spontaneous generation supports the idea that there is an active principle that combined with certain natural circumstances allows the creation of species. This idea has been in effect for over twenty centuries. It was in the 17th century when several experiments showed that the generation of life is not spontaneous, but that it implies the existence of a previous way of life. So this phenomenon was called biogenesis.
With the appearance of the microscope, the idea of biogenesis was gaining adherents
Among the scientists there were two parties: those in favor of spontaneous generation and those of biogenesis. The researches of French Louis Pasteur, in the nineteenth century, were definitive to resolve this debate . His work demonstrated that life proceeds from previous forms of life and that from a non-living being it is impossible to generate a living being. Pasteur even claimed that the concept of spontaneous generation was a kind of unfounded fantasy.
Biogenesis as an explanation of life was connected with another idea: evolution
Supporters of the biogenetic view understood that vital phenomena are framed in the theory of evolution of species and in the mechanisms that develop from it.
The abiogenesis or theory of spontaneous generation was based on an empirical observation: that from some decomposed remains, live animals appear. But this explanation did not take into account that the presence of some microorganisms is what allows an apparent spontaneous generation. When it was possible to eliminate microorganisms (for example, pasteurization ) the invalidity of spontaneous generation became evident.
The theory of biogenesis made the arguments about the origin of life take a different approach from the previous ones. Some scientists believe that the original foundation of life is found in water, more particularly in hydrothermal vents located in the Earth’s interior. When the structure of DNA was deciphered in the mid-twentieth century , there was a definitive step towards understanding the origin of life: mitochondrial biogenesis, that is, the energy that acts on the cells of organisms .