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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7551/978-0-262-32621-6-ch131
Pages 815-816
First published 30 July 2014

An Artificial Chemistry for the 'Lipid World' Scenario

Barak Shenhav

Abstract (Excerpt)

'Metabolism first' scenarios are amply suggested as an alternative or precursor for the emergence of the 'RNA world' that may have prevailed before contemporary life as we know it. The 'Lipid world' scenario advocates 'metabolism first'. The commonly used computational model for the scenario (the GARD model) emphasizes that reaction catalysis is not a binary phenomenon, but rather a matter of magnitude. Simulations of the model revealed lack (or at most very low capacity) to undergo natural selection. Here, it is proposed that this cavity emerges from the underlying distribution of catalytic values typically employed by the model. In particular, it is shown that the propensity of having many (or even few) 'viable' autocatalytic cores in a GARD system is rather slim. The robustness of GARD cores to parasitic periphery is pinpointed. As a conclusion, it is suggested that a 'Lipid world' based on a simple artificial chemistry may harbor many cores, possibly infinite, facilitating evolutionary process.