Modelling the origin of self-replication

Mathematical Biology

12 September 15:00 - 15:45

Yu Liu - University of Groningen

Explaining the origin of life requires us to elucidate how self-replication arises. To be specific, how can a self-replicating entity develop spontaneously from a chemical reaction system in which no reaction is self-replicating? Here, we set up a general mathematical model for chemical reaction systems that properly accounts for energetics, kinetics, and the conservation law. We found that (1) it is not very difficult to observe a system that is able to self-replicate, one of the most essential properties of life; (2) it is possible to construct a self-replicating system in which the entropy of some parts spontaneously decreases; (3) complex self-replicating molecules can emerge spontaneously and relatively easily from simple chemical reaction systems through a sequence of transitions; etc. Together, these results start to explain the origins of prebiotic evolution.
Mats Gyllenberg
University of Helsinki
Torbjörn Lundh
Chalmers/University of Gothenburg
Philip Maini
University of Oxford
Roeland Merks
Universiteit Leiden
Mathisca de Gunst
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


Roeland Merks


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