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Is life only a system of evolving chemical reactions?

Debate and discussion of any biological questions not pertaining to a particular topic.

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Postby minasole » Tue Mar 08, 2016 5:44 pm

Apart from the solar energy, in a primordial soup of chemicals, the following factors can shape the fate of the system, or else the natural history of the events:
1) By the different isoforms that organic stereochemistry pose, which adds to the diversity and mechanics that is needed to avoid equillibrium. Organic molecules are more stable. Thus, their number would slowly grow in the mixture....

2)Hydrophobic interactions (hydrophobic bonds, spatial configuration, separation and isolation of chemical systems, membranes, etc.
3)And apart from that, another crucial factor that shapes the system is the property of some molecules to strongly adhere to each other, or to membranes. In fact, if you put living cells and dead cells in a flask, then you can sort them easily because only the living ones will strongly adhere to the walls.
To see the importance of stickiness, take for instance the sponges. Recent studies has shown that they were one of the first organisms on earth, along with corals.
They don’t seem quite like the other animals. In fact, I would say that they are something in between, more like random chemical systems. However, the strong adhesions between molecules (as well as multiple other factors) in sponges makes those systems sustainable over time. In fact, they were created because they were not destroyed. They can sustain themselves for millennia and every sustainable chemical novelty can prevail and be selected.
4)Slow reactions can sustain themselves for a longer time...
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Postby Alisaworm » Fri Mar 11, 2016 6:17 am

Wow, insightful theme! Above answers make sense. Great!
Love biotechnology, Love Life!
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Re: Is life only a system of evolving chemical reactions?

Postby minasole » Sat Apr 02, 2016 12:51 pm

I have previously described what will happen in a flask of chemical reactions in the long term. There is not a certain plan that is favored, however the system will continue happening. The final resulting reactions will appear to have survival capacities if the observers are exactly those resulting reactions. Everything that happened lead to them. So the final combination of reactions will be the most sustainable of all combinations, given the particular conditions, because that’s exactly what happened. Those reactions prevailed in the long term.
The other factor that might help the system to sustain itself theoretically is repeatability. However, there is problem with repeatability. How can arbitrary reactions gain, or even more amazingly, sustain their repeatability? Although in theory a process that can protect some repeatable reactions can evolve and be selected, another option is possible, that personally I think is more likely to be the case.
And the second thing is this: Are there trully repeatable processes in nature? For instance, if a descendant is 99% the same as its ancestor, and they are both composed of 100 trillion reactions, this means they differ by 1 trillion reactions. Also, if you have two systems of 100 organic compounds with various stereochemistries that interact with each other and they become increasingly complex to the point that each system becomes 100 trillions of different compounds, then one would expect that 99% percent of the compounds of one system will be somewhere present in the other system as well, only as a result of pure chance.
Now if two systems of 100 trillion reactions or possible interactions are exposed to the same chemical laws and conditions (variability prevails, hydrophobic bonds, adhesive properties prevail, stable molecules prevail, influx of external substances, same temperature, etc etc, then the two systems that will be mainly composed of the same substances, will share approximately the same fate, at least to our eyes. Because if by 95% the same thing happens in both systems, this means they differ by many trillion reactions, but for us, it is enough to consider the two processes identical.
So to conclude, anytime it may be possible for a group of organic chemicals to burst complexity and development, but this can’t happen indefinitely, because of various internal and external obstacles, so the process is regulated in a way. Only in some circumstances this happens (etc development, cancer, rehabilitation, etc). Theoretically, this can be the case everytime the process finds the opportunity.
Any thoughts?

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Postby minasole » Sat Apr 02, 2016 3:26 pm

Important note: The numbers used (trillions etc) are rough approximations and their sole intent are to better explain my thoughts and underscore the effect of big numbers. Don't focus on the particular values...
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Postby minasole » Wed Apr 27, 2016 1:35 pm

One important question is why this specific organic stereochemistry that constitutes life prevailed and thrived so much, and from where did it come from. I can think of two logical ways:
Organic stereochemistry didnt reach equillibrium due to variability of possible isoforms and thus, everytime they were created, they persisted and survived, adding to complexity. Additionally, everytime they reacted with other organic or inorganic material (eg water, CaCO3 etc), they corrupted the other materials, adding to stereochemical complexity, and thus constantly adding novel material into the available for life chemical machinery of organic stereochemistry. In a similar way that prions corrupt the chemistry of the host organisms. This constantly increasing organic stereochemical reservoir can in theory undergo evolution and selection of the most sustainable chemical systems and theoretically create amazingly sustainable chemical systems such as ourselves or the other living beings.
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Re: Is life only a system of evolving chemical reactions?

Postby claudepa » Thu Apr 28, 2016 7:08 am

When first cells (or the first cell) were formed either there was no so many available organic molecules or a very small minority of available molecules was fitted for life. 2 examples: 1) Adenine is a molecule used by cells for different purposes: information, energy, neurotransmission, redox reactions. 2) Only one type of isomer is used for sugars in nucleic acids and only one type of isomer is used for aminoacids.
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Postby minasole » Tue May 03, 2016 9:48 am

Yes but without isomers, equillibrium would have been much more likely i think.
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Re: Is life only a system of evolving chemical reactions?

Postby minasole » Sun May 29, 2016 11:13 pm

And i think that tumor heterogeneity and clonal evolution is a perfect example in which this concept of metabolic evolution and selection applies, because metabolic diversity between cells determine to a great extent which neoplastic cells will have better chances to prevail.
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Re: Is life only a system of evolving chemical reactions?

Postby claudepa » Mon May 30, 2016 9:04 am

The actual view is that uncontrolled cell proliferation in tumors is due to mutations in DNA. These mutations can affect proliferation and death of cells. Mutated oncogene proteins, such as RAS for instance, can then send constantly signals of proliferation to the nucleus instead of doing it only when receiving a signal from the environment. Mutated antioncogene proteins such as RB do not anymore stop the cell cycle. Also mutated proteins responsible of apoptosis such as P53 will not anymore trigger the death of cells with mutations.
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Re:

Postby Kalysonb » Tue Jun 21, 2016 2:42 pm

minasole wrote:If your approach in order to answer how from complex primordial chemistry we got to today’s life is this, then it is life answering to the question how from 1, 2, 5, 8 you got 5689 and you claim: Eureka!!! Its 1+2=15*5=3000*8=5689


The bigger question is, how did absolute 0 produce 1?

Wrong initial assumptions, used in anyway, will lead to monstrously misleading conclusions.
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Re: Is life only a system of evolving chemical reactions?

Postby missplat » Wed Aug 24, 2016 10:48 am

Actually, life is just a distant repetition of the burning of gases that make our sun. Our planet was formed when a mass of burning gas was thrown off by the sun and, although cooling on the outside, has remained a molten mass on the inside.
Cells, of which life is formed, are tiny bags of H2O and a few other chemicals, which replicate the original burning process using energy from the sun (conveyed in light waves from the sun and heat from the molten interior).
Thus, we 'eat' to gain the fuel to continue the burning process. We say this process 'gives us energy' to do the work required to keep us alive, but it is simply continuing the burning process at a distance.
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