Origin & Evolution of Life

The Prebiotic Emergence Of Biological Evolution

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
December 4, 2023
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The Prebiotic Emergence Of Biological Evolution
Chain length distributions created by foldcats’ cooperativity. (Left, black) Typical polymerizations produce mostly short chains (shown as bin filling), following a Flory distribution [62, 90]. (Right, red) Foldcats produce more long chains for 2 reasons: (i) Foldcats catalyze elongation of other chains (k1 and k2), and (ii) Folded chains degrade more slowly because their folded cores are protected from solvent (k3). For analytical forms, see Appendix A. — physics.bio-ph

The origin of life must have been preceded by Darwin-like evolutionary dynamics that could propagate it. How did that adaptive dynamics arise?

And from what prebiotic molecules? Using evolutionary invasion analysis, we develop a universal framework for describing any origin story for evolutionary dynamics. We find that cooperative autocatalysts, i.e. autocatalysts whose per-unit reproductive rate grows as their population increases, have the special property of being able to cross a barrier that separates their initial degradation-dominated state from a growth-dominated state with evolutionary dynamics.

For some model parameters, this leap to persistent propagation is likely, not rare. We apply this analysis to the Foldcat Mechanism, wherein peptides fold and help catalyze the elongation of each other. Foldcats are found to have cooperative autocatalysis and be capable of emergent evolutionary dynamics.

Charles D. Kocher, Ken A. Dill

Comments: 17 pages, 8 figures
Subjects: Populations and Evolution (q-bio.PE); Biological Physics (physics.bio-ph)
Cite as: arXiv:2311.13650 [q-bio.PE] (or arXiv:2311.13650v1 [q-bio.PE] for this version)
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Submission history
From: Charles Kocher
[v1] Wed, 22 Nov 2023 19:04:58 UTC (507 KB)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻