AUTOPOIETIC SYSTEMS AND THE ORIGIN OF LIFE
An autopoietic system is a thermodynamic system that consists of a variety of material components that self-catalyzes. An autopoietic thermodynamic system is not a set of several molecular species that results to be the characteristics of the terrestrial living beings.
We Biologists know that the emergency of living beings on Earth happened once, some 3.8 billion years ago, and that the event has not been repeated from then. Nevertheless, we cannot be conclusive about this matter, given that we do not know for how long the emergency of new living beings lasted after the emergency of the first living cell.
Given the conditions of the primitive Earth, we cannot conclude that the first cells had nucleic acids to store the transmissible information and to reproduce themselves because the atmosphere, water and soils of Earth had powerful oxidizing elements that prevented the autocatalysis of nucleic acids and the very selfsame autocatalytic molecules.
It is obvious that the problem of "the egg and the chicken" has never existed in the real nature; it is only a problem of human semantics. Then, if we want to obtain a defined and valid theory on the Origin of Life we must consider autopoietic systems that lacked of nucleic acids. We can affirm that the first living beings on Earth did not require of nucleic acids to reproduce themselves and to store the complete information about the whole systems. The other option is that the first living beings, or archeobionts, were forming continuously with no need to reproduce themselves.
The emergence of a first autopoietic system producing the same molecules that would help it to self-generate occurred once. I agree upon which the first system had to be an autopoietic system, that it must have the ability to reproduce itself and that it must have defined membranous limits that allowed it to acquire the energy from the Cosmos (light, chemical energy, etc.) and to process it.
It is real that the first living being arose on Earth by means of spontaneous processes. Later, it acquired autonomy and the ability to reproduce itself; this does not imply other than the first living beings did never require of nucleic acids to keep the information necessary to generate self-reproducing molecules and to transmit their qualities to their descendants. Thus, the only thing that was needed in the beginning were large membranes able to generate a proton gradient, molecules that could store energy and molecules -which were not nucleic acids- able to store and communicate the information required to reproduce themselves.
But, how was it possible? The fundamental laws of the Universe played an essential role on this. The molecules had -and have yet- the capacity of communication, which is conferred to them thanks to the diverse states of the different species of quantum energy, which produce fluctuations in the fundamental fields, like the Gravitational Field and the Electromagnetic Field. Those fluctuations are what allow the interaction between charged particles through another important element, the photons or packages of energy. Everything was satisfied when the first membrane was apt to generate a first Proton Gradient thanks to the Electrodynamic Field generated by fluctuations in the Electromagnetic Field. After this, that inclusive organization was acquiring by informative affinity the rest of autocatalytic molecules, and, hundreds of million years later, of the most complex- but more available- molecules that would be essential for the production of the same autocatalytic and structural molecules, for the autoreproducción of the own system and for the storage of all the information of those living systems.
Sight from this way, Abiogenesis was 100% possible through the late stages of the Earth development, when it had not yet the current dusty soils, Oxygen in its atmosphere and extensive oceans. With regard to this last subject, if autopoietic archeobionts were formed within the icy hollows of fractals, their later development would not need the presence of great masses of water which would impede the synthesis of autocatalytic biomolecules by the Osmotic Catastrophe, but only of small ponds a few meters deep, and/or of coats of water on rocks.
The theory on the origin of living beings in fractals locates the simple and complex organic compounds synthesis in the Solar Nebula, which is a process that already has been observed in distant Star Systems.
There are hypothesis that place the synthesis of simple and complex organic compounds in Earth’s atmosphere, wherein the propitious conditions for the synthesis of nucleic acids and autocatalytic proteins appeared until several millions of years after the registered emergency of living Earth beings (the first fossil record of terrestrial microorganisms goes back to 3.8 billion years, while the propitious conditions for the spontaneous synthesis of those species of compounds appeared about 400 million years later). If the Abiogenesis had happened according to those hypotheses, then the first living being had emerged on Earth many million of years before the Earth surface were physicochemically apt for the abiotic synthesis of biomolecules, which semantically is inconsistent, then if we represented the environmental conditions as A, the simple compounds as B and the living beings as C, we would obtain the following scheme:
- B cannot exist without A, that is, that the simple organic compounds could not be synthesized if the conditions of the terrestrial atmosphere were not physicochemically propitious.
- C cannot exist without B, that is, that the living beings cannot emerge if organic molecules have not been synthesized.
- When C emerged, A yet was not consolidated, that is to say, that the living beings could not emerge on Earth until the conditions of Earth were not physicochemically propitious. Since C emerged earlier than the occurrence of A, then C could not emerge on the terrestrial surface.
This fact excludes straightly the synthesis of biomolecules on the terrestrial crust, including oceans.
Now let’s consider the place that already displayed the propitious physicochemical conditions sufficient for the spontaneous synthesis of B, and another system with the propitious conditions for the emergency of C. The place for the occurrence of B obviously was the solar nebula, to which we will represent as D. The place for the occurrence of C unmistakably was the terrestrial nebula -on condition that this one had enough water, gases and grains of dust- to which we will represent as E.
- B was possible in D, but not in A, i.e. that the synthesis of organic compounds was possible only in the solar nebula, but not under the environmental conditions of Earth.
- C was only possible after the occurrence of B, and it could not happen in D. This means that the real emergency of the living beings had to happen opportunely in a space that was neither the solar nebula nor the terrestrial surface. According to recent Paleontological studies, the terrestrial nebula that encircled the primeval Earth had enough water and fractals to protect the factors that would give rise to C.
- Consequently, it is more realistic than C has emerged in E, not in A or D. This means that the emergency of the first biont only was possible in the terrestrial nebula (a primitive atmosphere formed by gases, water and dust), not in the terrestrial surface or the oceans.
This provokes the question of whether bionts were living or inert membranes before come into contact with Earth’s soils.
This pure review means that, inferred from the fossil records, the living beings emerged before than the terrestrial soils and oceans had the necessary conditions to lodge them; therefore, they had to emerge in an environment of the planet that was neither part of its soils nor their oceans. In the time of the emergency of the first living being, the only place with the propitious temperature and moisture conditions was the nebula -formed by water vapor, diverse gases and dust that encircled the Earth.
It is highly probable that protobionts have been formed in the atmosphere that surrounded to the Earth, that is, in the nebula of water vapor, gases and fractals that built –and even are building today- to the atmosphere, the soils and the oceans of Earth.
Therefore, the answer to our precedent question is that the first autopoietic living beings formed themselves in the terrestrial nebula, and that they were membranes with the capacity to experience a Proton Gradient. That's why the first living beings were neither the microspheres nor the coacervates, but the membranes -synthesized in the unstable primitive terrestrial atmosphere- that were dragged after by the copious rains and deposited on the Earth’s surface (read the summary on the Origin of Life on Earth). Later, those biomembranes would generate to Archaeobacteria... then, to humans.