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Life 2017, 7(2), 25; doi:10.3390/life7020025

Cryosphere and Psychrophiles: Insights into a Cold Origin of Life?

Center for Protein Engineering–InBioS, Institute of Chemistry B6a, University of Liège, B-4000 Liège-Sart Tilman, Belgium
Academic Editor: David Deamer
Received: 3 May 2017 / Revised: 6 June 2017 / Accepted: 8 June 2017 / Published: 11 June 2017
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Psychrophiles thrive permanently in the various cold environments on Earth. Their unsuspected ability to remain metabolically active in the most extreme low temperature conditions provides insights into a possible cold step in the origin of life. More specifically, metabolically active psychrophilic bacteria have been observed at −20 °C in the ice eutectic phase (i.e., the liquid veins between sea ice crystals). In the context of the RNA world hypothesis, this ice eutectic phase would have provided stability to the RNA molecules and confinement of the molecules in order to react and replicate. This aspect has been convincingly tested by laboratory experiments. View Full-Text
Keywords: cryosphere; psychrophiles; ice; eutectic phase; RNA world; ribozyme cryosphere; psychrophiles; ice; eutectic phase; RNA world; ribozyme

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Feller, G. Cryosphere and Psychrophiles: Insights into a Cold Origin of Life? Life 2017, 7, 25.

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