Conference on Complex Systems 2017

Sep 17 - 22. Cancun, Mexico

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In search of the Origin of Life

Antonio Lazcano, a leading evolutionary biologist, was at the CCS17

Published on September 21, 2017 18:47

Written by Israel Colchado / Translation by Carlos López Natarén

"Life is like a politicians, both are opportunists," said Mexican professor Antonio Lazcano, a leading evolutionary biologist, in his speech at the Conference on Complex on Systems held in Cancun this week.

At the moment the primordial soup of Alexander Oparin is the most accepted theory on the origin of the life. He postulated that life originated due to the atmospheric conditions and the components found in the primitive seas of Earth, which created the conditions for the appearance of simple RNA structures.

For Lazcano it is evident that "we have a lot of experimental and analytical evidence that life originated from a great synthesis of organic components." If this theory is correct, then it is possible to ask: How did these organic components interact to originate life? This is where complexity can help.

In primitive Earth, before the appearance of life, the organic components obeyed the laws of physics and chemistry. In fact, it has been observed in nature that many molecules such as lipids can be self-organizing, that is, they are able to organize spontaneously in the absence of genetic material.

However, Lazcano is cautious because he does not consider that the origin of life can be explained in terms of complex systems.

"You can make your primitive soup as complex as you want but it is not enough for it to fulfill the theory of evolution," he said. In addition, he commented that complex systems are not able to explain how organisms obtained from this primordial soup diversify over time and can transmit stable and continuous information to their offspring.

"I believe there is a certain balance [between the two explanations], one can not attribute everything to self-organization [...] or to the genetic part, since the latter can fall into extreme reductionism."


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