How to Create Life from Dead Matter: Mechanisms to DNA, Molecular Evolution and Homochirality

In this lecture I will present our research results and goals on the origin of life.

First, I will concentrate on the formation ofimportant simple chemical building blocks, which are formed by the catalyticeffect of meteoric nanoparticles and the originally predominant earthatmosphere, namely hydrogen and carbon dioxide. We were able to showexperimentally that traces of nanoparticles, which are created by theevaporation of meteorites when they enter the Earth’s atmosphere, convertrelatively inert carbon dioxide into interesting and highly reactive organiccompounds.

Based on these compounds, we can follow thedevelopment of further important building blocks. Recently, we achieved adecisive breakthrough in the prebiotic formation of DNA nucleoside buildingblocks. Contrary to the opinion accepted by many scientists that an RNA worldfirst developed that only produced DNA through complicated transformations, wehave discovered a reaction pathway that leads directly to DNA. In the course ofthese investigations, we identified and characterized another DNA progenitor.These findings put us in a position to establish concrete conditions for thedevelopment of life. In this way we can explain why Nature prefers the sugarribose or deoxyribose for RNA and DNA building blocks.

In a further part I will present a system forevolution on the molecular level, which will ultimately lead to the formationof «living chemical networks».

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