Aug 25 – 27, 2021
Europe/Berlin timezone

On the origins of chemical evolution

Aug 25, 2021, 11:00 AM


Due to unstable situation with Covid-19 the event will be held online!


Wilhelm Huck (Radboud University)


The evolution of life from the prebiotic environment required a gradual process of chemical evolution towards greater molecular complexity. Elaborate prebiotically-relevant synthetic routes to the building blocks of life have been established. However, it is still unclear how functional chemical systems evolved with direction using only the interaction between inherent molecular chemical reactivity and the abiotic environment. In this talk, I will discuss how complex systems of chemical reactions exhibit well-defined self-organisation in response to varying environmental conditions. This self-organisation allows the compositional complexity of the reaction products to be controlled as a function of factors such as feedstock and catalyst availability. We observed how Breslow’s cycle contributes to the reaction composition by feeding C2 building blocks into the network, alongside reaction pathways dominated by formaldehyde-driven chain growth. The emergence of organised systems of chemical reactions in response to changes in the environment offers a potential mechanism for a chemical evolution process that bridges the gap between prebiotic chemical building blocks and the origin of life.

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