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Seven Clues to the Origin of Life: A Scientific Detective by A. G. Cairns-Smith

By A. G. Cairns-Smith

This e-book addresses the query of ways existence can have arisen on the earth, within the spirit of an interesting detective tale. It is dependent upon the tools of Sherlock Holmes, particularly his precept that one should still use the main paradoxical good points of a case to crack it. This method of the fundamental organic difficulties isn't really in simple terms light-hearted, yet a desirable scrutiny of a few very primary questions. 'I comprehend of no different ebook that succeeds in addition to this one in conserving the crucial query in concentration all through. it's a precis of the simplest evolutionary considering as utilized to the origins of lifestyles within which the $64000 matters are addressed pertinently, economically and with a cheerful recourse to inventive analogies.' Nature '... a correct tale - and a way more convincing one than the molecular biologists can provide as a substitute. Cairns-Smith has argued his case earlier than within the technical clinical literature, right here he units it out in a manner from which a person - even these whose chemistry and biology stopped at 16 - can learn.' New Statesman

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Extra info for Seven Clues to the Origin of Life: A Scientific Detective Story

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Only some 'molecules of life' are 'ubiquitous'. 2. Most 'ubiquitous' molecules are not 'molecules of life'. 3. 'Molecules of life' are usually better made under conditions other than those characteristic of the early Earth. 6 Look at the signposts 45 The correct inference is that some classes of organic molecules are easier to make and/or more stable than others, and that our (highly evolved) biochemical machine incorporates a number of members of such classes. This is simply not surprising enough to be informative.

Also within the ribosome 28 Seven clues to the origin of life would be the next word on the tape. The ribosome and this part of the tape together would be creating an empty three-pin socket. Suppose that this next part of the tape read G G G : then an adaptor with C C C pins would fit this socket, an adaptor carrying glycine. Of course there is no operator there to reach for a glycine-loaded C C C adaptor and push it into place. There is only the heat agitation of the molecules to allow a random exploration, and the extra firmness of a correct fit as the indication of success.

That seeming purpose is to be found (and in the end found only) in the controlling messages. One might be tempted to see in the moving about of molecules in E. coli its most life-like feature - even the stamp of life. But really it is the message rather than the motion that is the hallmark. '. it becomes not simpler but stranger. ' This is perhaps the most technical chapter in the book (although it is not that bad). Some readers may want just to skim it (or skip all but this page if they must), taking on trust the main burden of the argument that it presents - that the workings of all life on the Earth are seen to be fabulously complex and sophisticated on the molecular scale.

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