Special Issue "Origin of Life"
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 (31 March 2009).
Interests: exobiology; origin of life; prebiotic chemistry; homochirality; ethics of science
The origin of life is not yet understood. The word ‘life’ itself is not well defined. It seems that an unexplained transition occurred between a prebiotic chemical evolution and a biological evolution. Simple prebiotic molecules could have been synthesized in extraterrestrial space and brought to Earth within meteorites or cometary debris or may have been formed deep in terrestrial oceans.
An evolution towards more complex molecules could have led to the formation of a cell or to a region in space where metabolism, self-organization and self-reproduction could develop. The concepts of chirality, molecular structural complexity, molecular collective behavior, self-sustained chemical and replicative systems, autopoiesis, order, entropy, energy, metabolism, spatial geometrical forms and their temporal evolution, catalysis, selective adsorption, self reproduction, first living organisms and their precursors, etc., can be considered in order to explain the emergence of what is called ‘life’ and to explain that genetical information may be transmitted for thousands of years through biological organisms of short life time. The extraterrestrial and geological terrestrial environments of the emerging living systems also have to be considered in order to understand the adaptative evolution.
Numerous fields of research try to use their own concepts to bring some new understanding of the origin of life. These different trials do not converge and some hypotheses are very different depending on the fundamental concepts on which they lie. For instance chirality is interpreted in various ways based on mathematics, asymmetric forces and fields, surface catalysis, crystallization, sublimation, asymmetric radiolysis, photolysis and synthesis, on the structure of mineral surfaces, the effect of magnetic field, the physics of star and of polarized electromagnetic radiation, etc.
The purpose of this special issue on the Origin of Life is to assemble some of these numerous hypotheses. The articles should help to compare ideas based either on theoretical thoughts or on experimental results and should lead to new association of ideas for a better understanding of how life emerged.
Prof. Dr. Marie-Paule Bassez
- prebiotic chemistry
- molecular complexity
- collective behavior
- self-sustained systems
- geometrical form
- self reproduction
- first living organisms