, Volume 42, Issue 5, pp 453-457
Date: 25 Oct 2012

The Importance of Stochastic Transitions for the Origin of Life

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We discuss the origin of life in terms of an RNA World scenario in which the creation of autocatalytic sequences is the key step. Our computational models illustrate that life arises by a rare stochastic event that occurs due to spatially localized concentration fluctuations. This allows the chemical system to jump from a non-living state with very low ribozyme concentration to a living state that is controlled by ribozymes. Once the living state is established locally, it can spread deterministically through the rest of the system. These are generic features also possessed by more complex models with a greater degree of chemical realism.