The Origin of Life in Fire and Ice



Pp: ix-ix (1)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815040319121010003


A simple and direct path is proposed towards the formation of the first organism, LUCA (the last universal common ancestor), which is described using observations found in the scientific literature. The path is proposed to take place in the environment provided by hot springs and in the presence of snow and ice, thus creating the “FIRE and ICE” conditions. The path proposed is one which is plausible given that the experiment cannot be re-run. The path consists of the following steps: delivery of water and organic compounds to the early Earth via comet and asteroid impacts, formation of vesicles in geysers, entrapment of clay particles, amino acids and other ingredients in the vesicles, formation of template-directed peptides, elongation to peptides with catalytic activity, an association of catalytic peptides with aromatic compounds including purines and pyrimidines, peptide catalyzed the development of nucleotides, polymerization of nucleotides to RNA, the RNA world, stereochemical association with amino acids and peptides, the RNA-peptide world, allow the RNA world to develop a ‘code’ which develops into the genetic code and the advent of LUCA. This is not an extensive literature review but presents as simplified a path towards the first organism as can be envisaged using all steps found in the literature.

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