Place: 4274 Chamberlin (refreshments will be served)
Speaker: David Baum, UW Department of Botany
Abstract: The underlying puzzle of the origin of life is, How could something capable of evolving by selection arise spontaneously? The most compelling hypothesis is that autocatalytic metabolic networks arose on mineral surfaces and could evolve adaptively by an analog of group selection. Such adsorbed, life-like chemical complexes would be expected to yield cell-like entities as a means to solve the problem of colonizing other mineral surfaces. This theoretical framework for explaining the origin of life suggests a class of experiments, which we are now embarking upon: selecting for collective mutual catalysis on complex chemical mixtures associated with mineral surfaces.