Special Issue "Origin of Life 2011"
A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Physical Chemistry, Theoretical and Computational Chemistry".
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2011)
Prof. Dr. Jack Green (Website)
Department of Geological Sciences, California State University Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd. Long Beach, CA 90840-3902, USA
Fax: +1 562 985 8638
Interests: volcanic mechanisms; protolife in archean fumaroles
Prof. Dr. Robert Root-Bernstein (Website)
Department of Physiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48823 USA
Interests: prebiotic chemical ecology; origins of life; origins of genetic code; origins of homochirality; molecular complementarity; origins of cellular transporters and receptors; STEM education; scientific creativity
Origin of life research needs to question assumptions and search for integration. For example, most authorities assert that water is necessary for the emergence of life, but if it were not, what new possibilities emerge? Where life depends on water , there are two candidate origins, exogenic (cometary) and endogenic (volcanic or cryovolcanic).How does the origin of water affect the possibility, localization and timing of reactions necessary to water-based life? There is water at the poles of our moon and on two of the moons of Saturn, Enceladus and Titan, much of this is in the form of ice mixed with hydrocarbons. Might these conditions also give rise to life? Can we integrate these various questions by thinking about the origin of life not as a question of specific molecules coming into being (an RNA- or protein- or lipid- or sugar-world) but as geologically and geographically-localized chemical ecologies comprised of complex, interactive families of molecules spontaneously giving rise to the ordered constructs when their complexity reaches some critical cusp? Can we relate such geochemical ecologies to the specific forms of life that evolve, thereby explaining the emergence of sulphur-utilizing bacteria in one environment, photosynthetic bacteria in another, and perhaps arsenic-utilizing ones in a third? Questions like these are designed to attract submissions to this special volume that challenge our assumptions, suggest novel interrelationships or present original integrative theories. What have we missed? What kinds of research should we be doing that we are not? What uncut gems have we overlooked or lost by ignoring past classics such as J. D. Bernal’s Origin of Life or Harold Morowitz’s Mayonnaise and the Origin of Life? We encourage contributors to this volume to facet those gems and to discover some new one as well!
Prof. Dr. Jack Green
Prof. Dr. Robert Root-Bernstein