On the Origin of Life
I'm no professional biochemist, but here's something very
interesting which I haven't seen anyone explain before.
I think that the single, miraculous, random event that keyed L.I.F.E...
Or, you might say, the random assembly of nucleotides comprising,
suddenly, the RNA sequence from which RT is generated.
The idea is that...
So that is my idea of the essence of the evolution of life. There
apparently were greasy puddles of nucleotides in the right part of the
planet's evolution, undergoing day/night heat cycling and able to do
protein synthesis without further aids. So with the one miracle of
the random coming-together of the RNA for reverse transcriptase, the
rest seems to be just cool and wonderful, but not actually dependent
on God to overcome the infinite improbability of it all.
- 1) in a puddle of nucleotides, fats, and amino acids, all expectably
present in the pre-life Earth environment, carrying out some natural
level of protein synthesis weakly and slowly,
- 2) where the nucleotides in the puddle would combine in random
sequences by the weak chemical bonding natural to them, (all expectable), these
sequences being small RNAs and DNAs, and
- 3) where from those RNAs are generated proteins, using the amino
acids and the driving energy of day/night cycling (all expectable), then
- 4) one of the RNA sequences generated was the random RNA which
happens to be the one that codes for reverse transcriptase. This
event (4) is the key, single, almost-but-not-actually-miraculous,
random event in the creation of life according to this view. Then,
- 5) that RNA produced one or more reverse transcriptases using the
protein synthesis going on in the puddle, and
- 6) the reverse transcriptase started doing its wonderful thing,
which is generating a lot of DNAs from the nearby RNAs, and it's no
miracle that that would include the DNA that its own RNA conceptually
- 7) I have to wave my hands about the transcription of DNAs to RNAs,
because now we have DNAs and need to get to the same RNA again, but
once we get that, then
- 8) an extra copy of the RNA for reverse transcriptase appears having
been transcribed from that DNA. Presto, reproduction.
- 8A) Lots of
copies of reverse transcriptase and its RNA and DNA can quite
reasonably fall out of this without any miracle required, since it is
right there in the soup next to its own RNA and can keep making lots
of DNAs over and over. And so then
- 9) with reverse transcriptase floating about, converting
randomly-generated RNAs into DNAs which themselves transcribe into
RNAs, the soup now has a bunch of random RNA/DNA strings undergoing
replication, along with a lot of replication engines and replication
systems for the replication engine itself. So
- 10) then Darwin's logic applies: More replicatable stuff that
randomly occurs, that happens to work better at being around for
replication, and that therefore survives longer in the environment of
replicating engines, will happen to get replicated more, and thus there
will be a drift towards adaptive and useful parts, and to their
combination in adaptive and useful ways, since those parts and
combinations happen to be around longer and thus are present for
replication more and therefore are replicated more often and therefore
come to be more common.
P.S. Am I wrong? Please send your comments to me here.
Copyright © 2008-2011
Thomas C. Veatch. All rights reserved.
Modified: April, 2008; August, 2011