Origins 2011 – Abstracts
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L1b: Invited Lectures – Origins: From Stars to Life (continued)
The session timespan includes a 15-min introduction by the session Chair.
Toward a General Theory of Evolution: Extending Darwinian Theory to Inanimate Matter
Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Though Darwinian theory dramatically revolutionized biological understanding, its strictly biological focus has resulted in a widening conceptual gulf between the biological and physical sciences. In this talk we will describe our proposal to reformulate Darwinian theory in physicochemical terms so it can accommodate both animate and inanimate systems, thereby helping to bridge this scientific divide. A benefit of the formulation is that it may offer new insights into the origin of life.
Self-sustained Darwinian Evolution of RNA
A longstanding research goal, the construct of artificial genetic systems able to undergo self-sustained replication and evolution with the enzymatic machinery being part of the replicating system, was recently achieved in a system involving two RNA enzymes catalyzing each other's synthesis. The rise of recombination variants along generations, and of e.g. ligand recognition domains that may trigger the catalysis, allows for Darwinian evolution with emergence of environment-sensing abilities.