Physical Chemistry

Dynamic Self-organization in an Open Reaction Network as a Fundamental Principle for the Emergence of Life

Authors

Abstract

The emergence of life on Earth has attracted intense attention but remains unclear. A key problem is that the question of how living organisms can exhibit self-organizing ability that leads to highly ordered structures and active free independent behavior remains unanswered. This work reveals, by computer simulation and experiments, that a stationary state of an open reaction network (ORN) demonstrates such self-organizing ability. Reaction and diffusion processes in an ORN are irreversible and always forced toward equilibrium and, hence, necessarily reach a stationary state in which they have approached equilibrium to the largest extent possible and attained a full balance, if no oscillatory or dispersive behavior emerges. Thus, a stationary state is firmly stabilized by such reversible processes and kept stable against fluctuation; that is, it exhibits self-organizing ability. A non-equilibrium stationary state also has a property of approaching equilibrium and can evolve toward a high-efficiency ordered system through interaction with the surroundings. Moreover, a stationary state is a self-sustaining and self-organized state and can demonstrate active free independent behavior. Accordingly, a stationary state of an ORN can be regarded as a precursor of primitive life and dynamic self-organization in it provides a fundamental principle for the emergence of life.

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The description has been slightly revised in order to make it easier to understand.

Content

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Supplementary material

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Supplementary Information for Dynamic Self-organization in an Open Reaction Network as a Fundamental Principle for the Emergence of Life
This file presents reaction conditions used to calculate time courses of concentrations in Figures 2 and 3 of the main text.