The first major transition in origins of life: functional coupling of biomolecular precursors

21st November 2016
Versione stampabile

Venue: Edificio Povo 1, via Sommarive nr. 5, Povo (Tn) - Room A206
 At 4:00 p.m.

  • Kepa Ruiz-Mirazo - Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science, University of the Basque Country, Spain

In this talk I will argue for a 'systems chemistry' approach to the problem of origins of life. I will criticize reductionist strategies, like the still highly influential 'RNA-world' fairy tale, and defend the need to investigate compartmentalized chemistries that make use of diverse biomolecular precursors and supramolecular structures at once. More precisely, the first fundamental transition towards biological phenomena will be described in terms of a minimal functional coupling to be achieved by a heterogeneous collection of chemical species and processes, including --and included within-- a membrane boundary. On these lines, empirical and theoretical models of proto-cellular development and evolution will be regarded as the central axis to improve our understanding of prebiotic pathways leading to biogenesis.