a reply to: Elton
This article describes the process of self assembly which is a recognized phenomenon in nature. You don't need a creator or some galactic guru to
create life. It pops up all by itself, probably throughout the entire universe.
22 Molecular Self-Assembly and the Origin of Life
Wolfgang M. Heckl
„All things began in order, so shall they end, and so shall they begin again; according
to the ordainer of order and mystical mathematics of the city of heaven“
(Sir Thomas Browne 1658)
Nanoarchitectonics is a new interdisciplinary field within the NanoSciences, which
investigates the principles responsible for the formation of higher-ordered functional
structures starting from their nanoscopic building blocks like atoms and molecules.
Such a bottom up approach is new within the field of contemporary technology, which
has used very successfully the top down strategy for the miniaturization of fabrication
processes during the last hundred years. However, nature has always worked bottom
up, where the principles of self-assembly lead to crystal growth in the inorganic world,
and, via molecular self-assembly, to functional structures in biology. For instance, the
three-dimensional architecture of a nanomachine called the ribosome comprises the
natural molecular assembler, which organizes the transition from the DNA informational
blueprint into polypeptides and other functional units. To understand and make
technological use of the underlying mechanism of this process is one of the major
goals of modern Proteomics, where the relation between the DNA base sequence and
the respective protein must be mastered. One approach to this question is to simplify
the process by transferring it into a two-dimensional scenario, thus reducing the complexity
of the three-dimensional architecture to an in-plane problem. Such a reduced
coordination space may also be adequate for a primordial soup scenario, where the
spontaneous self-assembly of abiotically produced organic compounds may be facilitated.
The formation of highly ordered monolayers of the purine and pyrimidine DNA
bases through physisorption mediated molecular self-assembly at a solid-liquid mineral
interface and the subsequent stereospecific adsorption of amino acids is an example for
the spontaneous creation of nanoscale order. We have proposed a functional role of
this process for the emergence of life that may also lead towards the construction of
genetically based supramolecular architectures for modern technical applications [1-4].