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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2011, 12(3), 1650-1659; doi:10.3390/ijms12031650

The Composition and Organization of Cytoplasm in Prebiotic Cells

School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1, Canada
Received: 26 January 2011 / Revised: 15 February 2011 / Accepted: 23 February 2011 / Published: 3 March 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Origin of Life 2011)
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This article discusses the hypothesized composition and organization of cytoplasm in prebiotic cells from a theoretical perspective and also based upon what is currently known about bacterial cytoplasm. It is unknown if the first prebiotic, microscopic scale, cytoplasm was initially contained within a primitive, continuous, semipermeable membrane, or was an uncontained gel substance, that later became enclosed by a continuous membrane. Another possibility is that the first cytoplasm in prebiotic cells and a primitive membrane organized at the same time, permitting a rapid transition to the first cell(s) capable of growth and division, thus assisting with the emergence of life on Earth less than a billion years after the formation of the Earth. It is hypothesized that the organization and composition of cytoplasm progressed initially from an unstructured, microscopic hydrogel to a more complex cytoplasm, that may have been in the volume magnitude of about 0.1–0.2 µm3 (possibly less if a nanocell) prior to the first cell division.
Keywords: bacteria; prebiotic cytoplasm; genetic instructions; hydrogel; origin of cytoplasm; spatial organization bacteria; prebiotic cytoplasm; genetic instructions; hydrogel; origin of cytoplasm; spatial organization
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Trevors, J.T. The Composition and Organization of Cytoplasm in Prebiotic Cells. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2011, 12, 1650-1659.

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