Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres

, Volume 37, Issue 4–5, pp 429–432 | Cite as

Question 7: The First Units of Life Were Not Simple Cells

  • Vic NorrisEmail author
  • Axel Hunding
  • Francois Kepes
  • Doron Lancet
  • Abraham Minsky
  • Derek Raine
  • Robert Root-Bernstein
  • K. Sriram


Five common assumptions about the first cells are challenged by the pre-biotic ecology model and are replaced by the following propositions: firstly, early cells were more complex, more varied and had a greater diversity of constituents than modern cells; secondly, the complexity of a cell is not related to the number of genes it contains, indeed, modern bacteria are as complex as eukaryotes; thirdly, the unit of early life was an ‘ecosystem’ rather than a ‘cell’; fourthly, the early cell needed no genes at all; fifthly, early life depended on non-covalent associations and on catalysts that were not confined to specific reactions. We present here the outlines of a theory that connects findings about modern bacteria with speculations about their origins.


Module Division Composome Hyperstructure Origin of life 



For the support, we thank Genopole®, Evry and the Centre “ETTORE MAJORANA”, Erice.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vic Norris
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Axel Hunding
    • 3
  • Francois Kepes
    • 2
  • Doron Lancet
    • 4
  • Abraham Minsky
    • 5
  • Derek Raine
    • 6
  • Robert Root-Bernstein
    • 7
  • K. Sriram
    • 2
  1. 1.AMMIS Laboratory, UMR CNRS 6522University of RouenMont Saint AignanFrance
  2. 2.Epigenomics Project, Genopole®, CNRSEvryFrance
  3. 3.Department of Chemistry, H. C. Orsted Institute C116University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  4. 4.Department of Molecular Genetics and the Crown Human Genome CenterWeizmann Institute of ScienceRehovotIsrael
  5. 5.Department of ChemistryWeizmann Institute of ScienceRehovotIsrael
  6. 6.Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK
  7. 7.Department of Physiology, 2174 BPSMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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