Biogenesis vs Spontaneous Generation
From ancient times, people were curious about generation of life. In fact, Spontaneous generation was the earliest concept which was held strongly among people providing strong proof of existence of god. But later, many experiments lead to a new concept called biogenesis.
Later experiments identified the cell as basic unit of organisms. It leads to the cell theory, which includes that all living things or organisms are made of cells and their products, new cells are produced by existing cells, and cells are the basic building units of life .
The modern version of cell theory goes beyond old version stating that energy flows from cell to cell, the genetic information are carried from cell to cell, and all cells have the same chemical composition1.
Scientists who lived before the seventeenth century concluded that living things come from inanimate objects. As an example, earthworms come from the sky when it’s raining, mice come from grain, and insects and fish come from mud . However, later many experiments were conducted to disprove the spontaneous generation. The often used experiment was the generation of maggots from meat which is in the open air, which is called Redi’s experiment. He disproved spontaneous generation for large organisms. But still some believed that microorganisms were spontaneously occurring. Later the work of Louie Pasture disproved spontaneous generation by using swan neck flask experiment .
This concept is opposite of spontaneous generation i.e. living things can arise from pre- existing living things. Francis Redi was the first scientist who used controlled experiment and tested the idea of spontaneous generation. Although, it disproved the idea of spontaneous generation of large organism people still believed that vital power gave rise to microorganisms. Louie Pasture’s work of swan neck flask experiment disproved the spontaneous generation of microbes, and the invention of microscope by Anthony Leeuwenhoek enhanced the rising of the new era of biogenesis.
By 1665, Robert hook produced the microscope and identified dead cell walls, and introduced the word cell to the scientific community . In 1674, Anton van Leeuwenhoek observed live cell and discovered microorganisms3. In 1838, Matthias Shlieden discovered that all plants are made of cells, and 1839 Theodor Schwann discovered all animals are made up of cells. In 1885, Rudolf Virchow suggested that all new cells come from preexisting cells3. Those previously mentioned discoveries led to the cell theory.
What is the difference between Biogenesis and Spontaneous Generation?
• The main difference between biogenesis and spontaneous generation is that the spontaneous generations suggested that living things comes from nonliving objects, whereas biogenesis suggested that living things can arise from preexisting living things.
Spontaneous generation suggested that there was a vital power that gave rise to microorganisms, whereas biogenesis suggested microorganisms also arise from existing living cell.
Through a lot of inventions and experiment results, it was suggested that all living things come from preexisting cell, whereas spontaneous generation did not.
Experiments held by different scientists proved that biogenesis is the reason for generation of life, whereas those experiments disproved the spontaneous generation.