Thermodynamic Jump from Prebiotic Microsystems to Primary Living Cells (Version 2, Revised)
|Reviewer 1 Vladimir Levchenko Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and Biochemistry of RAS, St.Petersburg, Russia||Reviewer 2 Christos Georgiou University of Patras|
Approved with revisions
Approved with revisions
Kompanichenko, V. Thermodynamic Jump from Prebiotic Microsystems to Primary Living Cells. Sci 2019, 1, 58.
Kompanichenko V. Thermodynamic Jump from Prebiotic Microsystems to Primary Living Cells. Sci. 2019; 1(3):58.Chicago/Turabian Style
Kompanichenko, Vladimir. 2019. "Thermodynamic Jump from Prebiotic Microsystems to Primary Living Cells." Sci 1, no. 3: 58.
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Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and Biochemistry of RAS, St.Petersburg, Russia
REVIEW on the article of Vladimir Kompanichenko
Thermodynamic Jump from Prebiotic Microsystems
to Primary Living Cells
An approach to the phenomenon of life from the point of view of a physicist was proposed in the famous classical work of Schrödinger  already more than half a century ago. Unfortunately, further development of the ideas of this work practically did not occur . The article by V. Kompanichenko makes an attempt to consider the origin of life precisely from the standpoint of a physicist, and this is why it is interesting.
Schrödinger believed that any living system is different from nonliving in that, despite the constantly processes of decaying of living substance, it has the ability to support other processes that compensate for decay. As a result, the entropy of a living system does not increase. For this, the system uses external resources - energy sources or low-entropic substances. How this happens and what are the specific mechanisms that support these processes, Schrödinger does not discuss.
Vladimir Kompanichenko in his article makes, in my opinion, the correct emphasis on the energy aspects of the life process, but an attempt to use quite ambiguous term “information” in hisexplanations seems unsuccessful to me. From my point of view, the consideration of life processes should be conducted in the language of behavior instructions that a living system uses to obtain external resources and survival .
At the same time, in this article, as in other works of this author, a very interesting and reasonable idea is proposed that the emergence of life (ie the origin of processes compensating for the decay) is unlikely under relatively stable conditions, even when the environment is favorable for life. The author considers the hypothetical mechanism of the emergence of life precisely in a changing environment, when the conditions fluctuate significantly within a certain range. The likelihood that self-organization and appearance of processes compensating decay is possible in this case is, according to the author, nonzero. And in this he is apparently right. But what is the biological cell and how it works – this is not clear from the article.
Since Vladimir Kompanichenko is a geologist, he offers methods of verifying his hypothesis precisely from the standpoint of Earth sciences, although other approaches can be proposed (it suffices to recall, for example, the work of M. Eigen).
In general, despite a number of inaccuracies from the point of view of physicists and biologists, this article seems to me interesting and useful, both in the natural sciences aspects and in philosophical aspects, since it proposes a new approach to research on how life has arisen.
1. Schrodinger, E. What is Life? The Physical Aspect of the Living Cell; Lectures at the Trinity College: Dublin,
2. Levchenko V.F. Biosphere: stages of life (monograph in Russian). ISVOE, St.Petersburg, 2012, 264 pp. ISBN: 978-5-4386-0091-6
Doctor of Biological Sciences
Vladimir F. Levchenko
Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and Biochemistry RAS, St. Petersburg, Russia
Response to Reviewer 1Sent on 11 Aug 2020 by Vladimir Kompanichenko
University of Patras
The present study provides a physicochemical framework to view life, in its elemental components, as a space-limited (e.g. capsular, for keeping its organics highly concentrated), and self-assembled, -corrected (thus, imperfect), and -multiplied water-based organic system with spatially localized energy, whose organic molecular components are catalytically ordered in structure (ordered organic structures act as deposits of highly ordered energy, thus having low entropy), and capacity for producing work. Life absorbs external and temporarily timely-ordered energy, either radiated from space sources (e.g. from a star being under increasing disorder and energetically depleted), or it is of geothermal (from an energy-decreasing magma, released from plate tectonics etc) and chemical (by absorbing reductive energy from e.g. inorganic hydrogen donors, etc) origin. The system of life tends to die when its organic components are transformed to a high disorder state (e.g. to carbon dioxide), and its spatially ordered energy becomes chaotic. That is, what breaks down when life is dwindling towards death is not the quantity but the orderly quality of its energy; from spatially-ordered becomes chaotic and dispersed in a disorderly ascending universe.
The author would elaborate in the text on these lines of biochemical ideas