Special Issue "Molecules to Microbes"

A special issue of Sci (ISSN 2413-4155).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2019.

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Sohan Jheeta

NoR CEL, 1 Scott Hall Crescent, Leeds, LS7 3RB, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +0044-1132628767
Interests: origin of life; RNA world; panspermia,; hydrothermal vent; horizontal gene transfer; tree of life; phylogenetics; extraterrestrial life; astrochemistry

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A discussion meeting on the origin of life and life elsewhere in the Universe took place at the Eugenides Hall Foundation, in association with the National Technical University of Athens on 4th, 5th, and 6th November 2018. This meeting is a biennial event that brings together scientists from different disciplines, including those who are not necessarily working directly on the questions of the origin of life. The reasoning behind this collaboration between scientists from “outside” and those directly involved in the origin of life sphere is that the question is just too darned difficult to answer, and this approach certainly maximises the array of perspective and input. How can this alliance help to answer these questions? This is best illustrated with an example; scientists (e.g., virologists) investigating the RNA viruses (primarily Retroviruses) discovered that the retroviral enzyme, reverse transcriptase (RT), can bring about the synthesis of DNA from an RNA template. It is inaccurate to describe RT as reverse, because the formation of DNA from an RNA is, in fact, a forward reaction as far as the origin of life is concerned, thus illustrating that DNA came after RNA—i.e., an RNA ‘invented’ DNA, also noting that DNA is primarily RNA without deoxy ribose sugar (as below) and methylated uracil base. The DNA synthesis reaction, in the presence of RT, could be more accurately written as RNA à DNA, and so it should be labelled forward transcriptase or real transcriptase, as announced by Professor Karin Moelling, a virologist, in her book (page 61) entitled “Viruses—More Friends than Foes” (2017). Moelling, who is a virologist turned advocate of the origin of life, is a typical example of an “outside” scientist.

The reason DNA came after RNA concerns ribose sugar and uracil. In RNA, ribose is a five-carbon “normal” sugar; in DNA, this sugar is deoxy, meaning that there is a conspicuous absence of the oxygen [O] atom at carbon atom number two (C2) in the pentose ring of ribose. There is no known natural mechanism by which [O] could be removed from the hydroxyl (OH) group at C2; this is because [O] is highly electronegative and is tightly bound to C2. Although it is possible to make 2-deoxyribose sugar experimentally from acetaldehyde and glyceraldehyde-5-phosphate, this is unlikely to have occurred in nature. The removal of [O] from the C2 hydroxyl group is still an open-ended question. The absence of [O] makes a DNA molecule more stable compared to an RNA molecule as a repository of genomes. So, it can be surmised that RNA with its hydroxylated C2 came first with DNA making its appearance later. The other difference—methylated uracil—is relatively easy to synthesise from uracil by adding methyl group (CH3) to it.

To elucidate the exact routes of the emergence of life requires a multifaceted approach; that is, the input of scientists working in a wide spectrum of fields of research, including general practitioners in biology, chemistry, and physics; systems biology and chemistry; synthetics biology; virology pertaining to all three domains of life, including palaeontology and medical virologists; metagenomic and horizontal gene transfer specialists; pathogen scientists working with food poisoning microbes; bioinformatics; and geneticists. Scientists from these fields, as well as computer modelers and even mathematicians, are invited to submit articles of interest to this Special Issue.

Dr. Sohan Jheeta
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticlePost Publication Peer ReviewVersion 2
On Mautner-Type Probability of Capture of Intergalactic Meteor Particles by Habitable Exoplanets
Received: 28 June 2019 / Accepted: 10 July 2019 / Published: 9 August 2019
PDF Full-text (1496 KB)
Abstract
Both macro and microprojectiles (e.g., interplanetary, interstellar and even intergalactic material)
are seen as important vehicles for the exchange of potential (bio)material within our solar system as well
as between stellar systems in our Galaxy. Accordingly, this requires estimates of the impact probabilities
[...] Read more.
Both macro and microprojectiles (e.g., interplanetary, interstellar and even intergalactic material)
are seen as important vehicles for the exchange of potential (bio)material within our solar system as well
as between stellar systems in our Galaxy. Accordingly, this requires estimates of the impact probabilities
for different source populations of projectiles, including for intergalactic meteor particles which have
received relatively little attention since considered as rare events (discrete occurrences that are statistically
improbable due to their very infrequent appearance). We employ the simple but yet comprehensive
model of intergalactic microprojectile capture by the gravity of exoplanets which enables us to estimate
the map of collisional probabilities for an available sample of exoplanets in habitable zones around host
stars. The model includes a dynamical description of the capture adopted from Mautner model of
interstellar exchange of microparticles and changed for our purposes. We use statistical and information
metrics to calculate probability map of intergalactic meteorite particle capture. Moreover, by calculating
the entropy index map we measure the concentration of these rare events. We further adopted a model
from immigration theory, to show that the transient distribution of birth/death/immigration of material
for the simplest case has a high value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecules to Microbes)
Open AccessArticlePost Publication Peer ReviewVersion 2
Origin of the 16S Ribosomal Molecule from Ancestor tRNAs
Received: 23 January 2019 / Accepted: 28 January 2019 / Published: 9 August 2019
PDF Full-text (3291 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
We tested the hypothesis that concatemers of ancestral tRNAs gave rise to the 16S ribosomal RNA. We built an ancestral sequence of proto-tRNAs that showed a significant identity of 51.69% and a percentage of structural identity of 0.941 with the 16S ribosomal molecule. [...] Read more.
We tested the hypothesis that concatemers of ancestral tRNAs gave rise to the 16S ribosomal RNA. We built an ancestral sequence of proto-tRNAs that showed a significant identity of 51.69% and a percentage of structural identity of 0.941 with the 16S ribosomal molecule. We also propose a hypothesis for the emergence of translation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecules to Microbes)
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Open AccessArticlePost Publication Peer ReviewVersion 1
Influence of Gravitational Shielding on Time Dilation
Received: 22 July 2019 / Accepted: 2 August 2019 / Published: 8 August 2019
PDF Full-text (441 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This research work investigates the possibility of shielding gravity. The ultimate purpose of this work is to understand the reality behind the concept of Gravitational Shielding (GS) and time dilation. Since the 19th century, scientists have tried to arrive at an understanding of [...] Read more.
This research work investigates the possibility of shielding gravity. The ultimate purpose of this work is to understand the reality behind the concept of Gravitational Shielding (GS) and time dilation. Since the 19th century, scientists have tried to arrive at an understanding of GS via the use of various experiments. Unfortunately, some experiments failed to prove the existence of gravitational shielding, whereas some results proclaimed the possibility of attaining GS. The original phenomenon exhibited by nature cannot easily be understood, but some experiments have demonstrated that the answer may lie behind the mysterious GS. If GS is proved, then in the future, it would be possible to travel across black holes by defying gravity or through any bigger mass having high gravitational field. To unravel the mystery of GS, this work investigates the history of GS and considers the future vision of technologically advanced spacecraft or other warp drive mechanisms with appropriate gravitational shielding. Though the problem is very complex, this research work tries to come to a deeper understanding and explanation of the complexity involved in achieving gravitational shielding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecules to Microbes)
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Open AccessArticlePost Publication Peer ReviewVersion 1
Thermodynamic Jump from Prebiotic Microsystems to Primary Living Cells
Received: 25 June 2019 / Accepted: 28 June 2019 / Published: 4 July 2019
PDF Full-text (494 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is proposed that the primary living cells (“probionts”) cannot emerge of organic substance simply by continuous chemical complication of prebiotic macromolecules and microsystems. The complication must be accompanied by the radical thermodynamic transformation (“jump”) of prebiotic microsystems that resulted in the acquired [...] Read more.
It is proposed that the primary living cells (“probionts”) cannot emerge of organic substance simply by continuous chemical complication of prebiotic macromolecules and microsystems. The complication must be accompanied by the radical thermodynamic transformation (“jump”) of prebiotic microsystems that resulted in the acquired ability to extract free energy from the environment and export entropy. This transformation is called “the thermodynamic inversion” The inversion may occur by means of the efficient (intensified) response of the microsystems on the oscillations of physic-chemical parameters in hydrothermal environment. In this case the surplus available free energy within a microsystem, when combined with the informational modality, facilitates its conversion into a new microsystem—a living probiont. It is shown the schematic representation of an oscillating prebiotic microsystem that is transforming into a living probiont. A new kind of laboratory and computational experiments on prebiotic chemistry under oscillating conditions is offered to verify the inversion concept. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecules to Microbes)
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Other

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Open AccessEssayPost Publication Peer ReviewVersion 1
Mechanical Energy before Chemical Energy at the Origins of Life?
Received: 4 June 2019 / Accepted: 13 June 2019 / Published: 16 August 2019
PDF Full-text (943 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Forces and mechanical energy are prevalent in living cells. This may be because forces and mechanical energy preceded chemical energy at life’s origins. Mechanical energy is more readily available in non-living systems than the various other forms of energy used by living systems. [...] Read more.
Forces and mechanical energy are prevalent in living cells. This may be because forces and mechanical energy preceded chemical energy at life’s origins. Mechanical energy is more readily available in non-living systems than the various other forms of energy used by living systems. Two possible prebiotic environments that might have provided mechanical energy are hot pools that experience wet/dry cycles and mica sheets as they move, open and shut, as heat pumps or in response to water movements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecules to Microbes)
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Open AccessConference ReportPost Publication Peer ReviewVersion 1
Molecules to Microbes
Received: 7 July 2019 / Accepted: 10 July 2019 / Published: 25 July 2019
PDF Full-text (10599 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
How did life begin on Earth? And is there life elsewhere in the Cosmos? Challenging questions, indeed. The series of conferences established by NoR CEL in 2013, addresses these very same questions. The basis for this paper is the summary report of oral [...] Read more.
How did life begin on Earth? And is there life elsewhere in the Cosmos? Challenging questions, indeed. The series of conferences established by NoR CEL in 2013, addresses these very same questions. The basis for this paper is the summary report of oral presentations that were delivered by NoR CEL’s network members during the 2018 Athens conference and, as such, disseminates the latest research which they have put forward. More in depth material can be found by consulting the contributors referenced papers. Overall, the outcome of this conspectus on the conference demonstrates a case for the existence of “probable chemistry” during the prebiotic epoch. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecules to Microbes)
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