, Volume 42, Issue 5, pp 445-452
Date: 07 Nov 2012

On Prebiotic Ecology, Supramolecular Selection and Autopoiesis

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The existence of many “worlds” in origin-of-life literature; such as the “lipid world” (Segré et al. 2001), the“iron-sulfur world” (Wächtershäuser 1992), the “aromatic world” (Ehrenfreund et al. 2006) and others, leads to the impression that there are many competing hypothesis for the origin of life. However, if one postulates that a concrete theory for the origin of life should provide a plausible pathway from the stage of prebiotic soup to the stage of life in a series of logical steps, then none of the above mentioned “worlds” comply with this requirement. Most simply provide us with new or alternative ways of making components of the prebiotic soup, whether monomeric or polymeric.

There is only one origin-of-life theory which complies with the above stated requirement: the so called “RNA world” theory (Gilbert 1986). A brief, modern recapitulation of the RNA-world theory goes something like this: On an early Earth there was a prebiotic soup stage in which, in some aqueous environmen ...