The subject of this book is the physico-chemical theory of the origin of life. Although this theory is still in statu nascendi, it has been developed in recent years to the point where a coherent presentation is possible. The book is intended as an introductory text for students of physics, chemistry or biology. This interdisciplinary aim has necessitated a choice of material based on the lowest common denominator of physicists and biologists. In particular, the predominantly mathematical and biological sections have been presented at the most elementary l.evel possible. The less mathematically inclined reader can omit Sections (5.3)-(5.5), (5.7)-(5.10), (6.2), (6.3), (9.1)-(9.3), (12.1) and (13.3) without losing the overall view. For critical reading of the manuscript, for discussions and for many useful suggestions I wish to thank M. Eigen (Gottingen), w.e. Gardiner (Austin), D. Porschke (Gottingen), P. Schuster (Vienna), P.R. Wills (Auckland) and P. Woolley (Berlin). The translation of the original, German manuscript into English was kindly undertaken by Paul Woolley. During this and subsequent stages of revision he introduced a great many improvements in the text and the presentation of material. My particular thanks are due to him for his decisive contribution to this book. Last of all I wish to thank Ingeborg Lechten for typing the text in its various stages of evolution. The completion of this book is largely to be attributed to her patience and efficiency.
|Publisher:||Springer Berlin Heidelberg|
|Edition description:||Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. 1983|
|Product dimensions:||6.69(w) x 9.61(h) x 0.03(d)|
Table of ContentsI. The Molecular Basis of Biological Information.- 1. Definition of Living Systems.- 2. Structure and Function of Biological Macromolecules.- 2.1. The Nucleic Acids.- 2.2. The Proteins.- 2.3. The Genetic Code.- 3. The Information Problem.- II. Principles of Molecular Selection and Evolution.- 4. A Model System for Molecular Self-Organization.- 5. Deterministic Theory of Selection.- 5.1. Phenomenological Equations.- 5.2. Selection Constraint CP: Constant Population.- 5.3. Solution of the CP Selection Equations.- 5.4. The Quasi-Species.- 5.5. Selection Dynamics in CP Systems.- 5.6. Complementary Instruction and Selection in CP Systems.- 5.7. Selection Constraint CF: Constant Fluxes.- 5.8. Solution of the CF Selection Equations.- 5.9. Selection Dynamics in CF Systems.- 5.10. Competition and Co-existence in CF Systems.- 6. Stochastic Theory of Selection.- 6.1. Fluctuations and Stability.- 6.2. Markovian Processes.- 6.3. Stochastic Treatment of Simple Selection Models.- III. The Transition from the Non-Living to the Living.- 7. The Information Threshold.- 7.1. The Quality Function.- 7.2. Conditions for Stable Selection.- 7.3. The Accuracy of Copying of Individual Symbols.- 7.4. The Physics of Complementary Base Recognition.- 7.5. Information Storage in Darwinian Systems.- 8. Self-Organization in Macromolecular Networks.- 8.1. General Selection Equations.- 8.2. Methods of Stability Analysis: Fixed Point Analysis.- 8.3. Long-Term Behaviour of Self-Organizing Systems.- 9. Information-Integrating Mechanisms.- 9.1. The Hypercycle Basic Principles.- 9.2. Dynamics of Elementary Hypercycles.- 9.3. Selection Properties of Hypercycles.- 9.4. The Catalytic Hypercycle.- 10. The Origin of the Genetic Code.- 10.1. Probability of Nucleation.- 10.2. Models of Prebiotic Translation.- 11. The Evolution of Hypercycles.- 11.1. Self-Organization of Catalytic Hypercycles.- 11.2. Compartmentation and Individuation of Hypercycles.- IV. Model and Reality.- 12. Systems Under Idealized Boundary Conditions.- 12.1. The Thermodynamic Framework.- 12.2. Stationary and Periodic Boundary Conditions.- 13. Evolution in the Test-Tube.- 13.1. The Q? Replicase System.- 13.2. Darwinian Selection in vitro.- 13.3. Experimental Perspectives: An Evolution Machine.- 14. Conclusions: The Logic of the Origin of Life.- Mathematical Appendices.- A.1. The Eigenvalue Problem.- A.2. Linear Stability Analysis.- A.3. The Method of Lagrange Multipliers.- A.4. Stochastic Processes.