Tracking the first evolutionary steps in non-equilibrium settings
Tuesday 13 April 2021, 16.00 hours
– Dieter Braun, professor Systems Biophysics, LMU Munich
Join the YouTube stream: [link will be announced later]
How can we derive answers to the question of the origin of life? Instead of simply collecting facts, biological systems can now be directly tested by synthetically reconstructing them.
We have driven the first steps of molecular evolution with non-equilibrium settings, often temperature gradients with a recent focus on air-water interfaces. The settings accumulate molecules, select them for length, enable strand separation and allow continuous feeding through bulk solutions. Using sequencing, we see diverse pathways in sequence space that are able to create structure from randomness. We believe that these experimental findings pave the way towards open ended evolution. In many cases still, these studies are performed with the help of a protein, but we can discuss preliminary results on how similar effects are found from only a small number of RNA molecules, driven by hybridization, gravity, temperature and autocatalysis.
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