Brazilian Journal of Biological Sciences (ISSN 2358-2731)

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Vol. 2, No. 4, p. 179-192 - Dec. 31, 2015


Origins of life before the cell: echos from the past with broad implications in our future

Johan Sebastián Hernández, José Henry Osorio and Jorge Enrique Pérez

The following pages refers to the origin of life, but the discussion focuses far beyond finding the place where it probably started, and moves toward some intriguing questions and some of its broad implications for evolution itself. Can life flourish in all its complexity from a single proto-organism model that thrive thanks to natural selection at an individual level? Or, is there any implicit constraint in the mechanisms that drives evolution in the first steps of precelular life to allow community-based, collaborative abiogenic systems that differ from cellular life as we know it? As we will discuss here, it seems pertinent to expand some evolutionary concepts that seems to reach the limits of the discipline, and can be helpful to link the abiogenic world where life probably emerge, and the Darwinian cellular world ruled by the natural selection. With some of these questions in mind, we are obliged to at least consider the implications of this answers for the future exploration of the space, particularly within the field of applied astrobiology, a discipline that will have to tackle the problem of how a minimal viable community of microorganisms or precelullar forms, can thrive and cross the Darwinian threshold that allow life to take over a planet, by creating a Biosphere. A key question for the future of life beyond the boundaries of our planet.

Evolution, Origin, Life, Cell, Environment, History.

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