The abstract was revised to (hopefully) eliminate ambiguity and make it clearer that Sylvain’s proposed chemical steps are not just a partial solution, but rather, go from the first reaction all the way to all the biomolecules necessary to “usher in the RNA world.” The full-picture illustration was also added on the home page to help readers grasp the scope of what is being offered.
To me, one of the compelling aspects of this is that all the relevant biomolecules form in one location through ‘room temperature’ chemical steps that do not require anything exotic.
Topics relevant to the Origin of Life that are addressed in this paper:
- Why the relevant amino acids are all left-handed
- Why there are 20 standard amino acids, and why those 20
- Why the relevant amino acids are all “alpha-amino”
- Why the relevant sugars are right-handed
- The origin and preservation of homochirality
- The origin of nucleobases A, G, C, U
- The origin of RNA
- The origin of the lipids
To put this into perspective, each one of these topics is a major big deal. That this model shows them as possibly being parts of interrelated cascading chemical steps is stunning. It is interesting to note that these chemical steps take place, not in a “primordial soup,” but in a sheltered microenvironment of a mineral host structure. Since these proposed reactions do not work in water, the concept of life originating in a “primordial soup” may have mislead Origin of Life chemists for many decades.
We’ll see where it goes. If it can actually tackle abiogenesis, it is a big deal.