Origin of Life studies have a nearly-impossible goal: understanding nature through the comprehension of its origins and its complexities. As a growing field with poorly-defined borders, Origin of Life studies profit from progress in other disciplines.
This book proposes both an overview of this large area and an in-depth look at the opinions and results obtained by some of the active contributors of this fascinating and deeply thought-provoking matter.
The topics are presented in a bottom-up order, first touching on the habitability of the universe, then the rationale behind meaningful prebiotic chemistry, the possible or probable prebiotic chemical frames, the problem of chirality, and moving on through the role of minerals in biogenesis, biogenic fertile environments, the in-and-out problem as solved by vesicles physics, the evolution of the codes, the structure of LUCA and its proto metabolisms and the meaning of complex extant biological biomorphs, as exemplified by viroids.
These topics and the reasoning within the chapters are provided against the backdrop of the evolution of information and complexity.
1. The Emergence of Life-Nurturing Conditions in the Universe, Juan Vladilo.
2. Chirality and the Origins of Life, Guillaume Leseigneur and Uwe Meierhenrich.
3. The Role of Formamide in Prebiotic Chemistry, Raffaele Saladino, Giovanna Costanzo, and Bruno Mattia Bizzarri.
4. A Praise of Imperfection: Emergence and Evolution of Metabolism, Juli Peretó.
5. Viruses, Viroids and the Origins of Life, David Deamer and Marie-Christine Maurel.
6. Is the Heterotrophic Theory of the Origin of Life Still Valid? Antonio Lazcano.
7. Making Biochemistry-Free (Generalized) Life in a Test Tube, Juan Pérez-Mercader.
8. Hydrothermalism for the Chemical Evolution Toward the Simplest Life-Like System on the Hadean Earth, Kunio Kawamura.
9. Studies in Mineral-Assisted Protometabolisms, Jean-François Lambert, Louis Ter-Ovanessian, and Marie-Christine Maurel.
10. A Rationale for the Evolution of the Genetic Code in Relation to the Stability of RNA and Protein Structures, Andrew Travers.
Ernesto Di Mauro is a biologist as well as a former Molecular Biology professor and vice-president of the Académie Européenne Interdisciplinaire des Sciences, France. His research focuses on the structural codes for complex molecular interactions in DNA topology, RNA-polymerases and DNA-topoisomerases, and the properties of guanine as the heart of autogenous generation.
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