Showing posts with the label Polymerization

That Pesky Polymerization and the Origin of Life Problem

A well-publicised paper by Claudia Huber and Günter Wächtershäuser in Science proposed a scenario for a materialistic origin of life from non-living matter. They correctly state: The activation of amino acids and the formation of peptides under primordial conditions is one of the great riddles of the origin of life. Indeed it is. The reaction to form a peptide bond between two amino acids to form a dipeptide is: Amino acid 1 + amino acid 2 → dipeptide + water H 2 NCHRCOOH +H 2 NCHR′COOH → H 2 NCHRCONHCHR′COOH + H 2 O (1) The free energy change(ΔG 1 ) is about 20–33 kJ/mol, depending on the amino acids. The equilibrium constant for any reaction (K) is the equilibrium ratio of the concentration of products to reactants. The relationship between these quantities at any Kelvin temperature (T) is given by the standard equation: K = exp ( –ΔG / RT ) where R is the universal gas constant (= Avogadro’s number x Boltzmann’s cons