, Volume 42, Issue 5, pp 411-419
Date: 16 Nov 2012

On Evidence: The Lack of Evidence for Prebiotic Macromolecular Synthesis

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The field of the origin of life involves many centres all around the world, with a large variety of skills and facilities. And yet, there are certain areas of great importance that are barely touched by our investigation, and one may wonder why - this is actually the essence of our meeting. One of these is the prebiotic synthesis of macromolecules: proteins or nucleic acids. By this we do not mean a simple polymerization of one given monomer into a homo-polymer, or the mixture of two or more monomers into a random copolymer. We mean the synthesis of a chain with an ordered sequence, and in many identical copies, as enzymes are. And you may look into the literature, searching for the evidence of the synthesis of, say, a 30-co-oligo-peptide in a precise primary structure, and you will find nothing; the same for nucleic acids. Notice that polymerization processes of single amino acids to give, for example, poly-phe are not relevant for this discourse, as the conditions for homo-polymeriza...