Register for: WIMSIG2017

Details of talk

TitleThe fundamental equation of life
PresenterRowena Ball (Australian National University)
Author(s)Rowena Ball
SessionMathematical Biology
Time11:00:00 2017-09-25

We model the putative hydrothermal rock pore setting for the origin of life on
Earth as a train of continuous flow units coupled in series. Perfusing through
the train are reactants that give rise to thermochemical and pH oscillations,
and an activated nucleotide, which produces monomer and dimer monophosphates.
The dynamical equations that model this system are fully thermally
self-consistent. Crucially, we build stochasticity of the inputs into the model.
Interrogating the computational results, we find that they infer various
constraints and conditions on, and insights into, the origin of life and its
physical setting:  long, interconnected porous structures would have been
essential, longitudinal nonuniformity of pores favourable, and the ubiquitous
pH-dependences of all biology may well have been established in the prebiotic
era. We demonstrate the important role of input fluctuations in driving the
growth, evolution and diversification of the prebiotic world to a living world.
In particular, we show explicitly that the resulting outputs must have a
left-skewed, right-weighted probability distribution for a prebiotic system to
evolve towards a living system. These results also vindicate the general
approach of constructing and running a simple toy model to learn important new
information about a complex system.