Albany 2019: 20th Conversation - Abstracts

Albany 2019
Conversation 20
June 11-15 2019
Adenine Press (2019)

Intermediate Stage of the Transition of Prebiotic Microsystems to Life

Following the author’s inversion concept, the primary forms of life arise through thermodynamic inversion in non-living prebiotic microsystems, when the contributions of free energy (F) and information (I) become prevalent over the contribution of entropy (S) (Kompanichenko 2017). In this way the “thermodynamic corridor” for any chemical scenario of life origin is substantiated: F + I < S (prebiotic microsystem) → F + I ≈ S (intermediate stage, inversion moment) → F + I > S (primary form of life). Prebiotic organic microsystems can achieve the intermediate stage only under far from equilibrium conditions, including mandatory high-frequency oscillations of physic-chemical parameters (pressure, temperature, chemistry) in hydrothermal environments. Such oscillations are considered as the 4th required condition for life origin, in addition to the three well-known ones: availability of organic matter, aqueous medium, and a source of energy. A prebiotic organic microsystem at the intermediate stage is characterized by internal oscillations around the point of bifurcation and relative efficiency of chemical reactions producing free energy and entropy (Figure 1). A main idea for discussion is that self-maintained life processes were launched through continuous response of prebiotic microsystems to incessant physic-chemical oscillations in the outside world (stress), in connection with the Le Chatelier principle. No substantial fluctuations in a medium (for instance, in quiet ocean), no incessant recombination of (macro)molecules within containing organic microsystems and no perspective for their transformation into living units. The oscillating microsystem at the intermediate stage is unstable: further it can either be transformed into a primary living unit through thermodynamic inversion, or degrade due to irreversible rise of entropy. It is proposed the next step of experiments on the origin of life: various types of prebiotic models should be explored under multilevel and high-frequency oscillations of physic-chemical parameters in the chamber.


Figure 1 Intermediate state between ‘non-life and life’.


Kompanichenko V. N. (2017). Thermodynamic Inversion: Origin of Living Systems. Springer International Publishing, Cham (Switzerland). https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-53512-8.

Vladimir N. Kompanichenko

Institute for Complex Analysis
RAS in Birobidzhan
4, Sholom Aleyhem Str.
Birobidzhan 679016, Russia

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