Origin of Life

Theories and evidence for chemical biopoieses

Three subsets of sequence complexity and their relevance to biopolymeric information.

Entrez PubMed: "Genetic algorithms instruct sophisticated biological organization. Three qualitative kinds of sequence complexity exist: random (RSC), ordered (OSC), and functional (FSC). FSC alone provides algorithmic instruction. Random and Ordered Sequence Complexities lie at opposite ends of the same bi-directional sequence complexity vector. Randomness in sequence space is defined by a lack of Kolmogorov algorithmic compressibility. A sequence is compressible because it contains redundant order and patterns. Law-like cause-and-effect determinism produces highly compressible order. Such forced ordering precludes both information retention and freedom of selection so critical to algorithmic programming and control. Functional Sequence Complexity requires this added programming dimension of uncoerced selection at successive decision nodes in the string. Shannon information theory measures the relative degrees of RSC and OSC. Shannon information theory cannot measure FSC. FSC is invariably associated with all forms of complex biofunction, including biochemical pathways, cycles, positive and negative feedback regulation, and homeostatic metabolism. The algorithmic programming of FSC, not merely its aperiodicity, accounts for biological organization. No empirical evidence exists of either RSC of OSC ever having produced a single instance of sophisticated biological organization. Organization invariably manifests FSC rather than successive random events (RSC) or low-informational self-ordering phenomena (OSC)."

Abel DL, Trevors JT. Three subsets of sequence complexity and their relevance to biopolymeric information. Theor Biol Med Model. 2005 Aug 11;2:29.
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Photosynthesis and the origin of life.

Entrez PubMed: "The origin and evolution of photosynthesis is considered to be the key to the origin of life. This eliminates the need for a soup as the synthesis of the bioorganics are to come from the fixation of carbon dioxide and nitrogen. No soup then no RNA world or Protein world. Cyanobacteria have been formed by the horizontal transfer of green sulfur bacterial photoreaction center genes by means of a plasmid into a purple photosynthetic bacterium. The fixation of carbon dioxide is considered to have evolved from a reductive dicarboxylic acid cycle (Chloroflexus) which was then followed by a reductive tricarboxylic acid cycle (Chlorobium) and finally by the reductive pentose phosphate cycle (Calvin cycle). The origin of life is considered to have occurred in a hot spring on the outgassing early earth. The first organisms were self-replicating iron-rich clays which fixed carbon dioxide into oxalic and other dicarboxylic acids. This system of replicating clays and their metabolic phenotype then evolved into the sulfide rich region of the hotspring acquiring the ability to fix nitrogen. Finally phosphate was incorporated into the evolving system which allowed the synthesis of nucleotides and phospholipids. If biosynthesis recapitulates biopoesis, then the synthesis of amino acids preceded the synthesis of the purine and pyrimidine bases. Furthermore the polymerization of the amino acid thioesters into polypeptides preceded the directed polymerization of amino acid esters by polynucleotides. Thus the origin and evolution of the genetic code is a late development and records the takeover of the clay by RNA."
Hartman H. Photosynthesis and the origin of life. Orig Life Evol Biosph. 1998 Oct;28(4-6):515-21.

A model for the origin of photosynthesis--III. The ultraviolet photochemistry of uroporphyrinogen. : "The photochemical ramifications of the high ultraviolet flux on the primordial earth prior to the formation of the ozone layer have been considered in a study of the ultraviolet photochemistry of uroporphyrinogen (urohexahydroporphyrin), a colorless compound which absorbs strongly at wavelengths less than 220 nanometers. Urohexahydroporphyrin was investigated since it is the first macrocycle formed on the biosynthetic pathway of chlorophyll and can be used to test the hypothesis that the biosynthetic pathway to chlorophyll recapitulates the evolutionary history of photosynthesis. When urohexahydroporphyrin is illuminated in aqueous anaerobic solution, hydrogen gas is produced. More hydrogen gas is produced in the presence of a colloidal platinum catalyst. The products of the photooxidation of urohexahydroporphyrin are urotetrahydroporphyrin (uroporphomethene) and uroporphyrin. This research shows how the oxidation of uroporphyrinogen to uroporphyrin, the first biogenetic porphyrin, could have occurred anaerobically and abiotically on the primordial earth."
Mercer-Smith JA, Raudino A, Mauzerall DC. A model for the origin of photosynthesis--III. The ultraviolet photochemistry of uroporphyrinogen. Photochem Photobiol. 1985;42(3):239-44.

Evolution of Photosynthesis' (1970), re-examined thirty years later. : "I have re-examined my 1970 article 'Evolution of Photosynthesis' (Olson JM, Science 168: 438-446) to see whether any of my original proposals still survive. My original conviction that the evolution of photosynthesis was intimately connected with the origin of life has been replaced with the realization that photosynthesis may have been invented by the Bacteria after their divergence from the Archea. The common ancestor of all extant photosynthetic bacteria and cyanobacteria probably contained bacteriochlorophyll a, rather than chlorophyll a as originally proposed, and may have carried out CO(2) fixation instead of photoassimilation. The first electron donors were probably reduced sulfur compounds and later ferrous iron. The common ancestor of all extant reaction centers was probably similar to the homodimeric RC1 of present-day green sulfur bacteria (Chlorobiaceae) and heliobacteria. In the common ancestor of proteobacteria and cyanobacteria, the gene for the primordial RC1 was apparently duplicated and one copy split into two genes, one for RC2 and the other for a chlorophyll protein similar to CP43 and CP47 in extant cyanobacteria and chloroplasts. Homodimeric RC1 and homodimeric RC2 functioned in series as in the Z-scheme to deliver electrons from Fe(OH)(+) to NADP(+), while RC1 and/or RC2 separately drove cyclic electron flow for the production of ATP. In the line of evolution leading to proteobacteria, RC1 and the chlorophyll protein were lost, but RC2 was retained and became heterodimeric. In the line leading to cyanobacteria, both RC1 and RC2 replaced bacteriochlorophyll a with chlorophyll a and became heterodimeric. Heterodimeric RC2 further coevolved with a Mn-containing complex to utilize water as the electron donor for CO(2) fixation. The chlorophyll-protein was also retained and evolved into CP43 and CP47. Heliobacteria are the nearest photosynthetic relatives of cyanobacteria. The branching order of photosynthetic genes appears to be (1) proteobacteria, (2) green bacteria (Chlorobiaceae plus Chloroflexaceae), and (3) heliobacteria plus cyanobacteria."Olson JM. Evolution of Photosynthesis' (1970), re-examined thirty years later. Photosynth Res. 2001;68(2):95-112.

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Chance and necessity do not explain the origin of life.

Entrez PubMed: "Where and how did the complex genetic instruction set programmed into DNA come into existence? The genetic set may have arisen elsewhere and was transported to the Earth. If not, it arose on the Earth, and became the genetic code in a previous lifeless, physical-chemical world. Even if RNA or DNA were inserted into a lifeless world, they would not contain any genetic instructions unless each nucleotide selection in the sequence was programmed for function. Even then, a predetermined communication system would have had to be in place for any message to be understood at the destination. Transcription and translation would not necessarily have been needed in an RNA world. Ribozymes could have accomplished some of the simpler functions of current protein enzymes. Templating of single RNA strands followed by retemplating back to a sense strand could have occurred. But this process does not explain the derivation of 'sense' in any strand. 'Sense' means algorithmic function achieved through sequences of certain decision-node switch-settings. These particular primary structures determine secondary and tertiary structures. Each sequence determines minimum-free-energy folding propensities, binding site specificity, and function. Minimal metabolism would be needed for cells to be capable of growth and division. All known metabolism is cybernetic--that is, it is programmatically and algorithmically organized and controlled."

Trevors JT, Abel DL. Chance and necessity do not explain the origin of life. Cell Biol Int. 2004;28(11):729-39.

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