A Surface Hydrothermal Source of Nitriles and Isonitriles

I found one of the authors posting about his newest paper on FB.

There’s a Forbes articles covering this too.


Nice! There have been some interesting and important papers in OOL very recently. This one is cool:


This paragraph from the Introduction is a nice overview: I highlighted a key aspect. I can share the full text article on request.

Here we construct a biosphere-level model of metabolic evolution and show that a single autocatalytic bottleneck in purine synthesis prevents the emergence of metabolism from geochemical precursors. We show that including a hypothetical pathway independent of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) for purine biosynthesis enables the continuous expansion of metabolism from simple starting materials, and that the ensuing trajectory of metabolic network evolution is correlated with features typically associated with the transition from ancient to modern biochemistry. We use this trajectory to resolve key aspects on the nature of metabolic evolution, with a focus on elucidating the mechanisms and order by which metabolic pathways emerged in the biosphere.


Interesting! I know there are two main competing hypothesis in OOL research, the metabolism-first and RNA-first hypothesis. Is this new research evidence for the metabolism-first hypothesis?

I think it shows how ancient metabolisms can be linked to “modern” (extant) metabolisms, and it seems the ancient metabolisms are geochemical, meaning abiotic. But if I’m reading it right, the paper doesn’t specifically support a metabolism-first OOL as opposed to an RNA World scenario.


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