Neatness doesn’t work, it seems:
But research is beginning to show that starting with the right kind of mess is not only more realistic, but more effective at generating the materials vital to life, while also doing away with problems that have plagued purer systems. “There are times when we have mixtures, rather than just the isolated reactants that people typically use, and we get better results,” said Nicholas Hud, a chemist at the Georgia Institute of Technology. When mixtures are taken into consideration, the emergence of life on Earth in some ways “is not as hard as we might think it is.”
In the most compelling evidence to date, Krishnamurthy and a postdoctoral researcher in his lab, Subhendu Bhowmik, looked at how a system of chimeric RNA-DNA molecules — molecules built from the chemical units of both RNA and DNA — produced pure RNA and pure DNA more easily than systems that started out pure. The work, published today in Nature Chemistry, highlights just how essential a diverse, complex blend of ingredients may have been to life’s earliest evolution. …
It also eliminates certain theories: Perhaps it’s time to bid farewell to hypotheses based on a linear, progressive path from the primitive soup to today’s biology, in favor of ideas that embrace the complex mixes of systems chemistry. “If you think of the transition between day and night,” Lazcano Araujo said, “you never go from purely bright shining sun into a dark moonless night. You go through dusk.”Jordana Cepelewicz, “Origin-of-Life Study Points to Chemical Chimeras, Not RNA” at Quanta
Deep: “If you think of the transition between day and night,” Lazcano Araujo said, “you never go from purely bright shining sun into a dark moonless night. You go through dusk.”
True, but the planetary rotation system already exists, right, governed by gravity? One stage does not invent the next.
It’s not so clear that simple complexity can produce anything. What is the organizing principle? If there is a goal, how does it come to exist?
See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips – origin of life What we do and don’t know about the origin of life.
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