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The origins and physical roots of life’s dual – metabolic and genetic – nature

(2017) LIFE SCIENCE PRESS. 1(1). p.31-39
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Abstract
This review paper aims at a better understanding of the origin and physical foundation of life’s dual – metabolic and genetic – nature. First, I give a concise ‘top-down’ survey of the origin of life, i.e., backwards in time from extant DNA/RNA/protein-based life over the RNA world to the earliest, pre-RNA stages of life’s origin, with special emphasis on the metabolism-first versus gene/replicator-first controversy. Secondly, I critically assess the role of minerals in the earliest origins of bothmetabolism and genetics. And thirdly, relying on the work of Erwin Schrödinger, Carl Woese and Stuart Kauffman, I sketch and reframe the origin of metabolism and genetics from a physics, i.e., thermodynamics, perspective. I conclude that life’s dual nature runs all the way back to the very dawn and physical constitution of life on Earth. Relying on the current state of research, I argue that life’s origin stems from the congregation of two kinds of sources of negentropy – thermodynamic and statistical negentropy. While thermodynamic negentropy (which could have been provided by solar radiation and/or geochemical and thermochemical sources), led to life’s combustive and/or metabolic aspect, the abundant presence of mineral surfaces on the prebiotic Earth – with their selectively adsorbing and catalysing (thus ‘organizing’) micro-crystalline structure or order – arguably provided for statistical negentropy for life to originate, eventually leading to life’s crystalline and/or genetic aspect. However, the transition from a prebiotic world of relatively simple chemical compounds including periodically structured mineral surfaces towards the complex aperiodic and/or informational structure, specificity and organization of biopolymers and biochemical reaction sequences remains a ‘hard problem’ to solve.
Keywords
Origin and nature of life, Metabolism, Genetics, Crystallinity, Mineral surfaces, Thermodynamic and statistical negentropy

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MLA
De Tiège, Alexis. “The Origins and Physical Roots of Life’s Dual – Metabolic and Genetic – Nature.” LIFE SCIENCE PRESS, vol. 1, no. 1, onlinepublishingpress.com, 2017, pp. 31–39.
APA
De Tiège, A. (2017). The origins and physical roots of life’s dual – metabolic and genetic – nature. LIFE SCIENCE PRESS, 1(1), 31–39.
Chicago author-date
De Tiège, Alexis. 2017. “The Origins and Physical Roots of Life’s Dual – Metabolic and Genetic – Nature.” LIFE SCIENCE PRESS 1 (1): 31–39.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
De Tiège, Alexis. 2017. “The Origins and Physical Roots of Life’s Dual – Metabolic and Genetic – Nature.” LIFE SCIENCE PRESS 1 (1): 31–39.
Vancouver
1.
De Tiège A. The origins and physical roots of life’s dual – metabolic and genetic – nature. LIFE SCIENCE PRESS. 2017;1(1):31–9.
IEEE
[1]
A. De Tiège, “The origins and physical roots of life’s dual – metabolic and genetic – nature,” LIFE SCIENCE PRESS, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 31–39, 2017.
@article{8545202,
  abstract     = {This review paper aims at a better understanding of the origin and physical foundation of life’s dual – metabolic and genetic – nature. First, I give a concise ‘top-down’ survey of the origin of life, i.e., backwards in time from extant DNA/RNA/protein-based life over the RNA world to the earliest, pre-RNA stages of life’s origin, with special emphasis on the metabolism-first versus gene/replicator-first controversy. Secondly, I critically assess the role of minerals in the earliest origins of bothmetabolism and genetics. And thirdly, relying on the work of Erwin Schrödinger, Carl Woese and Stuart Kauffman, I sketch and reframe the origin of metabolism and genetics from a physics, i.e., thermodynamics, perspective. I conclude that life’s dual nature runs all the way back to the very dawn and physical constitution of life on Earth. Relying on the current state of research, I argue that life’s origin stems from the congregation of two kinds of sources of negentropy – thermodynamic and statistical negentropy. While thermodynamic negentropy (which could have been provided by solar radiation and/or geochemical and thermochemical sources), led to life’s combustive and/or metabolic aspect, the abundant presence of mineral surfaces on the prebiotic Earth – with their selectively adsorbing and catalysing (thus ‘organizing’) micro-crystalline structure or order – arguably provided for statistical negentropy for life to originate, eventually leading to life’s crystalline and/or genetic aspect. However, the transition from a prebiotic world of relatively simple chemical compounds including periodically structured mineral surfaces towards the complex aperiodic and/or informational structure, specificity and organization of biopolymers and biochemical reaction sequences remains a ‘hard problem’ to solve.},
  author       = {De Tiège, Alexis},
  issn         = {to be announced},
  journal      = {LIFE SCIENCE PRESS},
  keywords     = {Origin and nature of life,Metabolism,Genetics,Crystallinity,Mineral surfaces,Thermodynamic and statistical negentropy},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {31--39},
  publisher    = {onlinepublishingpress.com},
  title        = {The origins and physical roots of life’s dual – metabolic and genetic – nature},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.28964/LifesciPress-1-105},
  volume       = {1},
  year         = {2017},
}

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