Physics of Biology


Oil Droplets as a Primitive Life Form?

Authors: Matti Pitkänen

The origin of life is one the most fascinating problems of biology. The classic Miller-Urey experiment was carried out almost 60 years ago. In the experiment sparks were shot through primordial atmosphere consisting of methane, ammonia, hydrogen and water and the outcome was many of the aminoacids essential for life. The findings raised the optimism that the key to the understanding of the origins of life. After the death of Miller 2007 scientists re-examined sealed test tubes from the experiment using modern methods found that well over 20 aminoacids-more than the 20 occurring in life- were produced in the experiments.

The Urey-Miller experiments have yielded also another surprise: the black tar consisting mostly of hydrogen cyanide polymer produced in the experiments has turned out to be much more interesting than originally thought and suggests a direction where the candidates for precursors of living cells might be found. In earlier experiments nitrobenzene droplets doped with oleic anhydride exhibited some signatures of life. The droplets were capable to metabolism using oleic anhydride as ″fuel″ making for the droplet to move. Droplets can move along chemical gradients, sense each other′s presence and react to it and have also demonstrated rudimentary memory. Droplets can even ″solve″ a maze having ″food″ at its other end.

The basic objection against identification as primitive life form is that droplets have no genetic code and do not replicate. The model for dark nucleons however predicts that the states of nucleon are in one-one correspondence with DNA, RNA, tRNA, and aminoacid molecule and that vertebrate genetic code is naturally realized. The question is whether the realization of the genetic code in terms of dark nuclear strings might provide the system with genetic code and whether the replication could occur at the level of dark nucleon strings. In this article a model for oil droplets as a primitive life form is developed on basis of TGD inspired quantum model of biology. In particular, a proposal for how dark genes could couple to chemistry of oil droplets is developed.

Comments: 12 Pages.

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Submission history

[v1] 1 Nov 2011
[v2] 2012-01-30 07:39:22

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