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Why the origin of life had to be inorganic

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What is life? How did life start on planet earth 3.5 billion years ago, and which molecules/chemical systems led to biology? Is there any general theory of evolution that extends to all matter? In asking these questions, we are also trying to explore the development of inorganic systems capable of evolution – as a less complex, ‘emergent’ model of prebiotic evolution, which pre-dates the RNA /DNA world. This is because RNA /DNA is so complicated, that if life were to start with these building blocks it would be like randomly assembling a Jumbo-Jet plane from sand. Rather than depend on such an extremely unlikely event, we propose that a series of simpler (and random) ‘sand-castles’ could form. These would then allow more and more complicated parts to form, each built upon the former, until the RNA ‘Jumbo-Jets’ that we now find in biology are formed.

This talk is part of the Gut feeling: how bacteria influence our wellbeing series.

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