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Boundary structures are formed by organic components of the Murchison carbonaceous chondrite

Abstract

The first cellular systems to appear on the Earth were presumably assembled from three molecular species: information-storing molecules capable of replication, enzyme-like catalysts structurally encoded by that information and able to enhance replication rates, and boundary-forming molecules which could encapsulate the system represented by the first two molecular species. Encapsulation would provide a microenvironment conducive to interaction of the molecular species involved, and would further serve to differentiate such systems according to their reproductive success. Boundary structures could also provide permeability properties useful for the directed transport of nutrient molecules required for growth and replication. The experiments reported here focused on non-polar molecules extracted from carbonaceous chrondrites. Such molecules represent plausible models for the mixture of organic substances present on the early Earth. We found that certain components in the extract have physical properties which lead to the formation of boundary structures.

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Deamer, D. Boundary structures are formed by organic components of the Murchison carbonaceous chondrite. Nature 317, 792–794 (1985). https://doi.org/10.1038/317792a0

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