Where Does Life Come From in Membraneless Protocells

Where Does Life Come From in Membraneless Protocells
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We still can’t answer the questions that ask for details on how life started to exist on Earth 3.5 billion years ago from non-living chemicals. There is a hypothesis in the RNA world that suggests that the key players during this time were the biomolecules that act as enzymes thanks to the genetic information they carry. For the RNA activity to work, at a close enough proximity to one another, there needs to be a certain number of molecules close together. That might have been possible for the RNA theory to happen as the process could have taken place in a compartment, at that time in membraneless microdroplets (coacervates). The researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden and the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried have come up with a way that shows how inside the membraneless microdroplets simple RNA is active and develops a suitable environment for the beginning of life.

According to the RNA world assumptions, life comes from self-replicating RNA. This biomolecule existed before proteins and DNA started to evolve. Some other researchers though believe that the concentrations of RNA and their building blocks, on an early planet Earth, would have been too dilute for this process to happen. In order to create a reaction and start life, they think that the RNA molecules needed to find one another. In only to do that, RNA needed suitable places such as compartments. No matter if the compartment has a membrane or not, the molecules can change according to their environment. The phase-separation of oppositely charged molecules is what forms the compartments and looks similar to the separation of oil drops in water.

In this way, we can see that life truly came from something.


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