David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 20 (4):633-671 (2005)
Life appears to be a natural property of matter, but the problem of its origin only arose after early scientists refuted continuous spontaneous generation. There is no chance of life arising ‘all at once’, we need the standard scientific incremental explanation with large numbers of small steps, an approach used in both physical and evolutionary sciences. The necessity for considering both theoretical and experimental approaches is emphasized. After describing basic principles that are available (including the Darwin-Eigen cycle), the search for origins is considered under four main themes. These are the RNA-world hypothesis; potential intermediates between an RNA-world and a modern world via the evolution of protein synthesis and then of DNA; possible alternatives to an RNA-world; and finally the earliest stages from the simple prebiotic systems to RNA. The triplicase/proto-ribosome theory for the origin of the ribosome is discussed where triples of nucleotides are added to a replicating RNA, with the origin of a triplet code well-before protein synthesis begins. The length of the code is suggested to arise from the early development of a ratchet mechanism that overcomes the problem of continued processivity of an RNA-based RNA-polymerase. It is probable that there were precursor stages to RNA with simpler sugars, or just two nucleotides, but we do not yet know of any better alternatives to RNA that were likely to arise naturally. For prebiotic stages (before RNA) a flow-reactor model is suggested to solve metabolism, energy gradients, and compartmentation simultaneously – thus the intense interest in some form of flow reactor. If an autocatalytic cycle could arise in such a system we would be major steps ahead. The most likely physical conditions for the origin of life require further clarification and it is still unclear whether the origin of life is more of an entropy (information) problem (and therefore high temperatures would be detrimental), rather than a kinetic problem (where high temperatures may be advantageous).
|Keywords||origin of life RNA world origin of the ribosome Darwin-Eigen cycle flow reactor|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Luis Boto, Ignacio Doadrio & Rui Diogo (2009). Prebiotic World, Macroevolution, and Darwin's Theory: A New Insight. Biology and Philosophy 24 (1):119-128.
Similar books and articles
Robert Stuart Kauffman, Robert Este K. Logan, David Hobill Randy Goebel & Ilya Shmulevich (2008). Propagating Organization: An Enquiry. Biology and Philosophy 23 (1).
Juan Manuel Torres (1996). Competing Research Programmes on the Origin of Life. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 27 (2):325-346.
Dario Giacomoni (1993). The Origin of DNA:RNA Hybridization. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 26 (1):89 - 107.
Jacques Demongeot, Nicolas Glade & Andrés Moreira (2008). Evolution and RNA Relics. A Systems Biology View. Acta Biotheoretica 56 (1-2):5-25.
Alvaro Moreno Bergareche & Julio Fernandez Ostolaza (1992). From Records to Self-Description: The Role Played by RNA in Early Evolutive Systems. Acta Biotheoretica 40 (1):1-9.
Iris Fry (1995). Are the Different Hypotheses on the Emergence of Life as Different as They Seem? Biology and Philosophy 10 (4):389-417.
Stuart Kauffman, Robert K. Logan, Robert Este, Randy Goebel, David Hobill & Ilya Shmulevich (2008). Propagating Organization: An Enquiry. Biology and Philosophy 23 (1):27-45.
Susie Fisher (2010). Are Rna Viruses Vestiges of an Rna World? Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 41 (1):121-141.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads39 ( #69,387 of 1,700,240 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #77,273 of 1,700,240 )
How can I increase my downloads?