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Citation De Tiège A. The origins and physical roots of life's dual -metabolic and genetic -nature. Life Sci Press. ABSTRACT This review paper aims at a better understanding of the origin and physical foundation of life's dual -metabolic and genetic -nature. First, I give a concise 'top-down' survey of the origin of life, i.e., backwards in time from extant DNA/RNA/protein-based life over the RNA world to the earliest, pre-RNA stages of life's origin, with special emphasis on the<span class="external-identifiers"> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener noreferrer" href="https://doi.org/10.1016/s0262-4079(12)61875-2">doi:10.1016/s0262-4079(12)61875-2</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="https://fatcat.wiki/release/42aqfzs3nndf7icgwnsmf27y4a">fatcat:42aqfzs3nndf7icgwnsmf27y4a</a> </span>
more »... versus gene/replicator-first controversy. Secondly, I critically assess the role of minerals in the earliest origins of bothmetabolism and genetics. And thirdly, relying on the work of Erwin Schrödinger, Carl Woese and Stuart Kauffman, I sketch and reframe the origin of metabolism and genetics from a physics, i.e., thermodynamics, perspective. I conclude that life's dual nature runs all the way back to the very dawn and physical constitution of life on Earth. Relying on the current state of research, I argue that life's origin stems from the congregation of two kinds of sources of negentropy -thermodynamic and statistical negentropy. While thermodynamic negentropy (which could have been provided by solar radiation and/or geochemical and thermochemical sources), led to life's combustive and/or metabolic aspect, the abundant presence of mineral surfaces on the prebiotic Earth -with their selectively adsorbing and catalysing (thus 'organizing') micro-crystalline structure or order -arguably provided for statistical negentropy for life to originate, eventually leading to life's crystalline and/or genetic aspect. However, the transition from a prebiotic world of relatively simple chemical compounds including periodically structured mineral surfaces towards the complex aperiodic and/or informational structure, specificity and organization of biopolymers and biochemical reaction sequences remains a 'hard problem' to solve.
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