Thermodynamic Dissipation Theory of the Origin of Life

Understanding the thermodynamic function of life
may shed light on its origin. Life, as are all irreversible processes,
is contingent on entropy production. Entropy production
is a measure of the rate of the tendency of Nature
to explore available microstates. The most important irreversible
process generating entropy in the biosphere and,
thus, facilitating this exploration, is the absorption and transformation
of sunlight into heat. Here we hypothesize that
life began, and persists today, as a catalyst for the absorption
and dissipation of sunlight on the surface of Archean
seas. The resulting heat could then be efficiently harvested
by other irreversible processes such as the water cycle, hurricanes,
and ocean and wind currents. RNA and DNA are
the most efficient of all known molecules for absorbing the
intense ultraviolet light that penetrated the dense early atmosphere
and are remarkably rapid in transforming this light
into heat in the presence of liquid water. From this perspective,
the origin and evolution of life, inseparable from water
and the water cycle, can be understood as resulting from the
natural thermodynamic imperative of increasing the entropy
production of the Earth in its interaction with its solar environment.
A mechanism is proposed for the reproduction of
RNA and DNA without the need for enzymes, promoted instead
through UV light dissipation and diurnal temperature
cycling of the Archean sea-surface.

For details, see K. Michaelian, Earth Syst. Dynam., 2, 37–51, 2011

About karomichaelian

Researcher at the UNAM, Mexico, in the thermodynamics of the origin of life. I have a theory concerning the thermodynamic dissipative origin of life. Please see my web page and Karo Michaelian on ResearchGate
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