Special Issue "Hydrothermal Vents or Hydrothermal Fields: Challenging Paradigms"
A special issue of Life (ISSN 2075-1729).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 September 2017).
Interests: analytical chemistry; nucleic acid chemistry; origin of life; environmental science; theory of origin and evolution of biospheres
Hydrothermal reaction systems, such as submarine hydrothermal vent systems, are considered as key environments, where different type of chemical evolution processes could have carried out to form primitive life-like systems. Here, we would like to refocus how such hydrothermal environments could have contributed the formation of life in order to deduce the feature of ancient life forms.
The accumulation of biomolecules was an essential step for chemical evolution under the extreme Earth environments. Several types of simulation experiments of hydrothermal environments on the primitive Earth, and kinetics and thermodynamic analyses on the behavior of biomolecules have been carried out in relation to the prebiotic formation and stability of biomolecules, such as RNA and peptides. Naturally, instrumentation for simulation of the hydrothermal environments is a key approach for the successful studies on the chemical evolution of biomolecules. Diversity of hydrothermal environments, such as oscillating systems, is now becoming important even from the astrobiological viewpoint. Hydrothermal systems could be widely present in different planets other than the Earth and moons in the Solar system.
Although biomolecules and organisms were considered in a long time to resist unlikely the hydrothermal environments, the discoveries of thermophilic organisms and phylogenetic analyses have implied the hypothesis that life-like systems could have emerged under the relatively high temperature conditions. Simulation experiments of biomolecules under hydrothermal conditions support that this is a narrow view. At the same time, the hydrothermal environments are carefully verified since it does not seem to be plausible for the accumulation and chemical evolution of biomolecules, such as RNA and peptides.
According to these reasons, the hydrothermal systems are considered as key environments for the mergence of life-like systems. In this Special Issue, the roles and importance of hydrothermal systems will be refocused from various viewpoints.
Prof. Kunio Kawamura
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- Hydrothermal environments
- RNA world