Self-replicating micelles — A chemical version of a minimal autopoietic system

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Abstract

Reverse micelles hosting the internal production of the surfactant are proposed as experimentally feasible models of simple (or ‘minimal’) autopoietic systems. We describe the conditions under which these may be formed and their possible biological implications. The micellar systems considered here turn out also to exhibit a capacity for self-reproduction through fragmentation under plausible conditions, thus constituting also a minimal experimental model for prebiotic self-reproduction.