Dec 27, 2011

Formamide and the origin of life

Physics of Life Reviews
Raffaele SaladinoErnesto Di Mauro

Abstract

The complexity of life boils down to the definition: "self-sustained chemical system capable of undergoing Darwinian evolution" (Joyce, 1994) [1]. The term "self-sustained" implies a set of chemical reactions capable of harnessing energy from the environment, using it to carry out programmed anabolic and catabolic functions. We briefly present our opinion on the general validity of this definition. Running anabolic and catabolic functions entails complex chemical information whose stability, reproducibility and evolution constitute the core of what is dubbed genetics. Life as-we-know-it is made of the intimate interaction of metabolism and genetics, both built around the chemistry of the most common elements of the Universe (hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon). Other elements like phosphorus and sulphur play important but ancillary and potentially replaceable roles. The reproducible interaction of metabolic and genetic cycles results in the hypercycles of organization and de-organization of chemical information that we consider living entities. In order to approach the problem of the origin of life it is therefore reasonable to start from the assumption that both metabolism and genetics had a common origin, shared a common chem...Continue Reading

  • References81
  • Citations64

References

  • References81
  • Citations64

Citations

Mentioned in this Paper

Guanine
Metabolic Process, Cellular
Guanosine
Biochemical Pathway
Alcohols
Oxaloacetic Acid
Formicum acidum, formic acid, Homeopathic preparation
Glycerin
Derivatives
Formamides

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