Sep 3, 2010

Emergence of self-reproduction in cooperative chemical evolution of prebiological molecules

Origins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere : the Journal of the International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life
Maya Fishkis


The paper presents a model of coevolution of short peptides (P) and short oligonucleotides (N) at an early stage of chemical evolution leading to the origin of life. The model describes polymerization of both P and N types of molecules on mineral surfaces in aqueous solution at moderate temperatures. It is assumed that amino acid and nucleotide monomers were available in a prebiotic milieu, that periodic variation in environmental conditions between dry/warm and wet/cool took place and that energy sources were available for the polymerization. An artificial chemistry approach in combination with agent-based modeling was used to explore chemical evolution from an initially random mixture of monomers. It was assumed that the oligonucleotides could serve as templates for self-replication and for translation of peptide compositional sequences, and that certain peptides could serve as weak catalysts. Important features of the model are the short lengths of the peptide and oligonucleotide molecules that prevent an error catastrophe caused by copying errors and a finite diffusion rate of the molecules on a mineral surface that prevents excessive development of parasitism. The result of the simulation was the emergence of self-replicat...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Evolution, Chemical
Genetic Template

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