PerspectiveORIGIN OF LIFE

Beyond prebiotic chemistry

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  03 Jun 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6290, pp. 1174-1175
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf6310

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Summary

How can matter transition from the nonliving to the living state? The answer is essential for understanding the origin of life on Earth and for identifying promising targets in the search for life on other planets. Most studies have focused on the likely chemistry of RNA (1), protein (2), lipid, or metabolic “worlds” (3) and autocatalytic sets (4), including attempts to make life in the lab. But these efforts may be too narrowly focused on the biochemistry of life as we know it today. A radical rethink is necessary, one that explores not just plausible chemical scenarios but also new physical processes and driving forces. Such investigations could lead to a physical understanding not only of the origin of life but also of life itself, as well as to new tools for designing artificial biology.