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Artificial Chemistries$
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Wolfgang Banzhaf and Lidia Yamamoto

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262029438

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262029438.001.0001

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The Essence of Life

The Essence of Life

(p.111) Chapter 6 The Essence of Life
Artificial Chemistries

Wolfgang Banzhaf

Lidia Yamamoto

The MIT Press

This chapter briefly explores the potential mechanisms underlying a transition from inanimate matter to life. First of all, the structure of a minimal cell is discussed, according to chemoton theory and autopoiesis. A summary of current theories about the origin of life on Earth then follows: starting from the formation of organic compounds in a prebiotic world, various hypotheses have been formulated about how these basic building blocks could have been combined into self-replicating and evolving structures that can be considered alive. Three of these hypotheses are covered: RNA World hypothesis, the Iron-Sulfur World, and the Lipid World. The chapter is concluded with an overview of Artificial Chemistries intended to study minimal cells and the origins of life, such as autocatalytic sets and autopoietic protocells.

Keywords:   Autocatalytic set, Autopoiesis, Chemoton, Iron-Sulfur World, Lipid World, Minimal cell, Origin of life, Prebiotic world, RNA World

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