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The Future of Origin of Life Research: Bridging Decades-Old Divisions

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Institute of Molecular Evolution, University of Düsseldorf, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany
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School of Chemistry, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G128QQ, UK
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Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1EW, UK
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School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1RL, UK
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Environmental Microbial Genomics, Laboratoire Ampère, Ecole Centrale de Lyon, Université de Lyon, 69130 Ecully, France
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Origins Center, Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University, 3584 CB Utrecht, The Netherlands
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Space Science Center (ANGKASA), Institute of Climate Change, Level 3, Research Complex, National University of Malaysia, UKM Bangi 43600, Selangor, Malaysia
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Department of Physical Chemistry, University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague, Technicka 5, 16628 Prague 6–Dejvice, Czech Republic
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UK Centre for Astrobiology, School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3FJ, UK
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Institut für Geologische Wissenschaften, Freie Universität Berlin, 12249 Berlin, Germany
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Lycée Colbert, BP 50620 59208 Tourcoing Cedex, France
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Institute of Synthetic Microbiology, University of Düsseldorf, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany
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Quantitative and Theoretical Biology, University of Düsseldorf, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany
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School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, London E1 4DQ, UK
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Université de Strasbourg, CNRS, ISIS, 8 allée Gaspard Monge, 67000 Strasbourg, France
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Archaea Biology and Ecogenomics Division, University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria
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Cellular and Molecular Biophysics, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, 82152 Martinsried, Germany
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Department of Plant Systematics, Ecology and Theoretical Biology, Eötvös Loránd University, Pázmány Péter sétány 1/C, 1117 Budapest, Hungary
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Institute of Evolution, MTA Centre for Ecological Research, Klebelsberg Kuno u. 3., H-8237 Tihany, Hungary
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Department of Cellular, Computational and Integrative Biology (CIBIO), University of Trento, 38123 Trento, Italy
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Systems Biophysics, Physics Department, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, 80799 Munich, Germany
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Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences (CEPLAS), University of Cologne, 50674 Cologne, Germany
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Life 2020, 10(3), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/life10030020
Received: 31 January 2020 / Revised: 19 February 2020 / Accepted: 21 February 2020 / Published: 26 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Origin of Life)
Research on the origin of life is highly heterogeneous. After a peculiar historical development, it still includes strongly opposed views which potentially hinder progress. In the 1st Interdisciplinary Origin of Life Meeting, early-career researchers gathered to explore the commonalities between theories and approaches, critical divergence points, and expectations for the future. We find that even though classical approaches and theories—e.g., bottom-up and top-down, RNA world vs. metabolism-first—have been prevalent in origin of life research, they are ceasing to be mutually exclusive and they can and should feed integrating approaches. Here we focus on pressing questions and recent developments that bridge the classical disciplines and approaches, and highlight expectations for future endeavours in origin of life research. View Full-Text
Keywords: origins of life; prebiotic chemistry; early life; LUCA; abiogenesis; top-down; bottom-up; emergence origins of life; prebiotic chemistry; early life; LUCA; abiogenesis; top-down; bottom-up; emergence
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Preiner, M.; Asche, S.; Becker, S.; Betts, H.C.; Boniface, A.; Camprubi, E.; Chandru, K.; Erastova, V.; Garg, S.G.; Khawaja, N.; Kostyrka, G.; Machné, R.; Moggioli, G.; Muchowska, K.B.; Neukirchen, S.; Peter, B.; Pichlhöfer, E.; Radványi, Á.; Rossetto, D.; Salditt, A.; Schmelling, N.M.; Sousa, F.L.; Tria, F.D.K.; Vörös, D.; Xavier, J.C. The Future of Origin of Life Research: Bridging Decades-Old Divisions. Life 2020, 10, 20.

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