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Mineral origins of the Living

Theories for the origin of life have been traditionally divided into heterotrophic and autotrophic beginnings. The first assumes that the bricks of life were brought to Earth by external sources such as comets or meteorites that "seeded" our planet. Conversely, autotrophic theories argue that chemistry under initial conditions directly built the bricks of life directly to the emergence of life on Earth, in favourable environments such as hydrothermal vents or coastal zones. The observation of the use of inorganic cofactors such as iron-sulphur centres in all organisms has allowed the proposal of the development of a primordial metabolism catalysed or favoured by mineral surfaces of the pyrite or marcasite type. The current FeS centres would be the descendants of these mineral surfaces. Studying the role of transition metals and mineral surfaces in metabolic enrichment, focusing on thiol chemistry, will test some hypotheses that may have led to the emergence of life.

We aim at addressing the origin of chemical processes involving key cofactors from modern metabolism and we will begin this analysis by focusing on the role of thiols as represented by coenzyme A.

Submitted on January 25, 2024

Updated on January 25, 2024