Self-Organization and Prebiotic Environment
The hypothesis that the first step towards life took place in an aqueous medium gives rise to a number of thermodynamical problems. Here it is suggested that the hydrophobic layer made of hydrocarbons and other hydrophobic molecules which presumably covered the surface of primordial seas would have provided an environment more suitable than water for the concentration and polymerisation of prebiotic molecules. Furthermore, it is stressed that the emergence of self-organised molecular systems, such as Kauffman’s autocatalytic networks, requires an environment in which molecules can easily interact with each other. While water weakens electrostatic interactions, because of its high dielectric constant, a hydrophobic medium seems to be a more suitable environment for the development of self-organised catalytic systems.
KeywordsMethane Hydrolysis Ozone Catalysis Hydrocarbon
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