Special Issue "Phosphorus in the Origin of Life"

A special issue of Life (ISSN 2075-1729). This special issue belongs to the section "Origin of Life".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 February 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Ruth E. Blake
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Geology and Geophysics, Yale University, USA
Interests: stable isotope geobiochemistry; geomicrobiology; astrobiology; phosphoenzymes; PO4 biomarkers; deep biosphere and subseafloor life
Dr. Matthew Pasek
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Geology, University of South Florida, USA
Interests: astrobiology; geochemistry; cosmochemistry; origins of life; prebiotic chemistry

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Life as we know it would not exist without phosphorus (P). From structural to functional, informational, and energetic roles, P is absolutely essential to life. This Special Issue, “Phosphorus in the Origins of Life”, aims to explore the roles that P plays at and leading up to life’s first beginnings. What were the key forms of P (e.g., mineral, meteoric, organic, reduced) in the early Earth environments that led to the basic building blocks for life? What were the crucial steps and mechanisms in their synthesis and catalysis? What are the alternatives and analogues to P-based life? How can our Earth model guide our understanding of the co-evolution of life and P biochemistry on other worlds? These are questions that require an integrated and multidisciplinary approach including but not limited to biochemistry, microbiology, biophysics, geology, astrobiology, mathematical modeling, and astronomy. We invite you to contribute to this Special Issue with an article that addresses one of these questions or a related question on prebiotic P synthesis, alternative sources of P for life, etc.

Prof. Dr. Ruth E. Blake
Dr. Matthew Pasek
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Life is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • phosphorus/phosphate
  • prebiotic synthesis
  • phosphoesters
  • apatite
  • reduced P/phosphite
  • RNA world
  • ATP
  • polyphosphate

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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