Origins of life and evolution of the biosphere

, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 633–643

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

  • Pier Luigi Luisi
  • Francisco J. Varela

DOI: 10.1007/BF01808123

Cite this article as:
Luisi, P.L. & Varela, F.J. Origins Life Evol Biosphere (1989) 19: 633. doi:10.1007/BF01808123


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.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pier Luigi Luisi
    • 1
  • Francisco J. Varela
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für Polymere der ETHZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.CREA, Ecole PolytechniqueParisFrance

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