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|Start time:||2022-02-22 13:11:|
|End time :||2022-02-22 14:22:|
The origin of life is one of the main outstanding open problems in science. We shall never know how it happened but we want to work out a scenario as to how it could have happened. If such a scenario meets with general approval, the job is done.
Life is rooted in chemistry, ontologically, epistemologically as well as historically. We wish to understand how elementary biological organizations emerged from the chemical mayhem. The origin and spread of autocatalytic chemical networks is at the centre of the problem. This has topological and kinetic constraints that the combinatorics of molecules must satisfy somehow. This satisfaction must come from within the system: there were no potent biocatalysts (enzymes) to channel the multitude of chemical reactions in the right directions in the era of chemical evolution.
I shall argue that the problem cannot be solved without dedicated work using the mathematical armamentarium of graph theory and combinatorics. I shall also explain why the current results are not yet satisfactory.