Coacervate Droplets, Proteinoid Microspheres, and the Genetic Apparatus

  • Sidney W. Fox


In this paper, coacervate droplets and proteinoid microspheres are compared, both as laboratory models and as sources of inference. Depending upon the definition used for coacervate droplets, proteinoid microspheres themselves constitute a type of coacervate droplet. Both in the Soviet Union* and the United States, this author has been asked to compare and contrast the two. The context of those questions indicated that coacervate droplets from gelatin and gum arabic were usually meant on the one hand, whereas microspheres assembled from proteinoid alone were meant on the other. Difficulties stem from the fact that either coacervate droplets or proteinoid microspheres are produced in many types. Coacervate droplets so designated are complexes of two or more polymers of markedly different composition. The simplest proteinoid microsphere consists mainly of a family of compositionally closely related copolyamino acids, rather than of two colloidal types of markedly different sources and polarities. It is also true that coacervate droplets of, for example, polyvinyl sulfonic acid (34) alone have been reported, but this type is not relevant to a question of associations of functions related to vital properties, associations such as are found in copolyamino acid preparations.


Genetic Code Spontaneous Generation Genetic Apparatus Tamic Acid Primitive Organism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sidney W. Fox
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Molecular and Cellular EvolutionUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

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