In a virtual computer experiment, researchers from the University of Southern Denmark have discovered information strings with peculiar properties that can reveal how the life originated on the Earth.
“In our virtual molecular laboratory, information strings began to replicate quickly and efficiently as expected. We saw that the system quickly developed an equal number of short and long information strings and further a strong pattern selection on the strings had occurred,” said Steen Rasmussen from the Center for Fundamental Living Technology (FLINT) at the University of Southern Denmark.
According to Steen Rasmussen, a so-called self-organising autocatalytic network was created in the virtual pot into which “he and his colleagues poured the ingredients for information strings”.
An autocatalytic network is a network of molecules which catalyse each other’s production.
“We might have discovered a process similar to the processes that initially sparked the first life,” Rasmussen added.
The oldest ancestor of life on Earth was a protocell.
“The mechanisms underlying the formation and selection of effective information strings are not only interesting for the researchers who are working to create protocells, they also have value to researchers working with tomorrow’s technology,” concluded Rasmussen.
The paper appeared in the journal Europhysics Letters.