OoL digest — September 19th edition

In this week’s OoL research, we have an article in the field of astrobiology from Oberg that presents the results of a chemical composition mapping of five young stars with the ALMA observatory, including organic molecules like nitriles, relevant for the OoL. In biochemistry, Maguire reports on a probiotic system incorporating an orthophosphate cycle that could have been part of the first metabolism on Earth, Johnson-Finn presents hydrothermal experiments suggesting minerals can enhance the complexity of organic product pathways for carboxylic acids, Sarkar reports experiments on wet-dry cycling and its effect on membrane formation/encapsulation, Walton presents a new ‘scum’ hypothesis aiming to overcome the instability of prebiotic membranes, Samulewski analyzes the interaction between ferrocyanide and minerals, concluding that the former may have been a source of cyanide on the primitive Earth, and Higgs proposes a set of three criteria for a set of chemical reactions to form a metabolism. Finally, we have an article in biology from Leslie that examines the evolution of complexity in plants, which would have occurred in two separate moments. Happy reading !


Molecules with ALMA at Planet-forming Scales (MAPS) I: Program Overview and Highlights – Oberg et al. – preprint


When Is a Reaction Network a Metabolism? Criteria for Simple Metabolisms That Support Growth and Division of Protocells – Higgs – Life

Hydrothermal One-Electron Oxidation of Carboxylic Acids in the Presence of Iron Oxide Minerals – Johnson-Finn et al. – preprint

A physicochemical orthophosphate cycle via a kinetically stable thermodynamically activated intermediate enables mild prebiotic phosphorylations – Maguire et al. – Nature Communications

Study of Ferrocyanide Adsorption onto Different Minerals as Prebiotic Chemistry Assays – Samulewski et al. – Astrobiology

Influence of Wet–Dry Cycling on the Self-Assembly and Physicochemical Properties of Model Protocellular Membrane Systems – Sarkar et al. – ChemSystemsChem

Scum of the Earth: A Hypothesis for Prebiotic Multi-Compartmentalised Environments – Walton et al. – Life


Reproductive innovations and pulsed rise in plant complexity – Leslie et al. – Science

Alexandre Champagne‑Ruel
Alexandre Champagne‑Ruel
PhD Candidate - Astrophysics

My research interests include statistical physics, complex systems and major evolutionary transitions.