Cooptive Evolution of Prebiotic Chemical Networks

  • Chrisantha Fernando
  • Vera Vasas
Part of the Cellular Origin, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology book series (COLE, volume 22)


A mechanism of Darwinian chemical evolution is proposed based on cooptation of chemical avalanches occurring in a catalytic network of molecules enclosed in protocell compartments. This intermediate stage of information transmission would have been of importance prior to template replication and may be necessary to explain the origin of highly complex molecules such as nucleotides capable of template replication.


Reaction Network Artificial Selection Chemical Network Multiple Attractor Network Genotype 
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.



Funding was provided by the E-FLUX FET OPEN ICT FP7 grant. We thank Mauro Santos, Stuart Kauffman, and Eors Szathmary for invaluable discussions and guidance in this project.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of InformaticsUniversity of SussexBrightonUK
  2. 2.Departament de Genètica i de Microbiologia, Grup de Biologia Evolutiva (GBE)Universitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBellaterra (Barcelona)Spain

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