From prebiotic chemistry to molecular evolution

  1. editorImage
  1. Editors: Prof. Leroy Cronin, University of Glasgow,
    Prof. Amanda C. Evans, California State University Fullerton,
    and Prof. David A. Winkler, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

Relatively soon after the formation of the earth from a maelstrom of gas and dust, terrestrial inorganic chemistry started. Rocks, the first minerals, materials and salts formed, but how did the transition from inorganic chemistry to biology occur? The process of complexification is a mystery; was it Darwinian? was it combinatorial? what were the first organic precursors that started the journey to the formation of the first cells? In the absence of biological machinery, only simple molecules appear to be available, but many argue about prebiotic plausibility. These precursors were probably subjected to intense energy sources such as UV radiation, radioactivity and thermal energy, and these seemed to generate the necessary building blocks that eventually lead to life. But how did the process begin? Undoubtedly networks of chemical and physical interactions produced not only one soup, but many soups resulting in the formation of the biologically relevant sugars, amino acids, purines, pyrimidines, nucleotides, fatty acids and polymers thereof. But were these compounds formed by ‘dead’ systems, or byproducts from simple life forms? Can we be certain that the tight interlocking of these components led to metabolic processes we would recognize today, and that each of these generated new environments with different chemical compositions from that of the primordial earth? The result was the creation of spatially separated chemical systems, sequestered from, and shaping the environment, that were capable of energy transformation, maintaining a structure, and allowing the transmission of hereditary memory: the cell. Although there is common consensus that modern cells descended from a single common ancestor, how the complex machinery arose in that very first cell remains a total mystery.

Adsorption of RNA on mineral surfaces and mineral precipitates

  1. Elisa Biondi,
  2. Yoshihiro Furukawa,
  3. Jun Kawai and
  4. Steven A. Benner
  • Full Research Paper
  • Published 01 Mar 2017

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Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2017, 13, 393–404, doi:10.3762/bjoc.13.42

  • Commentary
  • Published 28 Mar 2017

Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2017, 13, 620–624, doi:10.3762/bjoc.13.60

  • Full Research Paper
  • Published 07 Apr 2017

  • PDF

  • Supp. Info

Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2017, 13, 665–674, doi:10.3762/bjoc.13.66

  • Review
  • Published 02 Jun 2017

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Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2017, 13, 1071–1078, doi:10.3762/bjoc.13.106

  • Review
  • Published 12 Jun 2017

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Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2017, 13, 1119–1135, doi:10.3762/bjoc.13.111

  • Review
  • Published 21 Jun 2017

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Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2017, 13, 1189–1203, doi:10.3762/bjoc.13.118

  • Review
  • Published 29 Jun 2017

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Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2017, 13, 1288–1302, doi:10.3762/bjoc.13.125

  • Commentary
  • Published 13 Jul 2017

  • PDF

Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2017, 13, 1388–1395, doi:10.3762/bjoc.13.135

Grip on complexity in chemical reaction networks

  1. Albert S. Y. Wong and
  2. Wilhelm T. S. Huck
  • Review
  • Published 28 Jul 2017

  • PDF

Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2017, 13, 1486–1497, doi:10.3762/bjoc.13.147

Chemical systems, chemical contiguity and the emergence of life

  1. Terrence P. Kee and
  2. Pierre-Alain Monnard
  • Review
  • Published 07 Aug 2017

  • PDF

Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2017, 13, 1551–1563, doi:10.3762/bjoc.13.155

A recursive microfluidic platform to explore the emergence of chemical evolution

  1. David Doran,
  2. Marc Rodriguez-Garcia,
  3. Rebecca Turk-MacLeod,
  4. Geoffrey J. T. Cooper and
  5. Leroy Cronin
  • Full Research Paper
  • Published 17 Aug 2017

  • PDF

  • Supp. Info

Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2017, 13, 1702–1709, doi:10.3762/bjoc.13.164

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