A New look at what Life is and how it began


Wednesday, October 13 2010 - 12:00 pm, PDT
Nick Woolf
University of Arizona

Life has two unique processes. The first is precision assembly, in which the shape of a molecule is selected, and it is “glued” to another precisely selected molecule. The second is when the assembler-glue-selector device exactly copies itself. The first item produced must be a structure so as to be survival-selected. In turn this selection needs to have the eventual effect of selecting the assembler-glue-selector. The system requires the development of two different polymers, one for structures, the other for information transfer. During the development of this precision, the proto-life is sustained by a dissipative process. It is explored why the assembler-glue-selector becomes RNA and ATP. Nitrogen provides the key NH bonds that are broken for “gluing” in both nucleic acids and amino acids. The requirements for the process, abundant availability of the nitrogenous organic materials from space, freshwater for the origin of membranes, and high temperatures and pressures for natural condensation reactions seem to uniquely select terrestrial geyser regions about 4.4 Gy ago as the site of the origin of terrestrial life.

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