Parallel lives: humans and nanobacteria
«What Nanobacteria and Nanovesicles May Tell Us about the Origin of Life?» With the following article prof. Igor Jerman share his researches on the origin of life. After discussing about the role and water and the importance of the Coherence Domains ( here ), Jerman goes into the world of nanobacteria and nanovesicles, explaining his hypothesis: if we assume a different perspective that sees life in terms of organized information expressed through well ordered physical and physicochemical states, these nanobacteria (and nanovesicles in general) have a lot to to reveal…
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What Nanobacteria and Nanovesicles May Tell Us about the Origin of Life?
Abstract: (…) The complex molecular, physical and physicochemical order replaces the DNA molecule in its capability to maintain the stability of information complexity from generation to generation. Such systems were already found on the present day Earth and even within organisms and were also synthetically reproduced. They are called nanobacteria and in general nanovesicles or nanoparticles. They may represent an actual passage from non living forms to primitive organisms.
Keywords: Origin of Life, Definition of Life, Pre-Biotic Evolution, Coherent Domains, Long Range Order, Active Information, Nanobacteria, Bions, Biomimetic, Biomorphs.
Since the reductionist biology has began to establish itself (it started during the second half of the 19th century), the minority of biologists opposed to the more and more “molecularized” outlook on life. They sought a unifying principle that could explain the immense orderliness and complexity found even in the simplest organisms. They were accused of vitalism from the established majority and at least with the start of the DNA era in biology certain lines of vitalistic thought were really banned from biology. However, the spark of a holistic, emergentist, organistic outlook on life was never extinguished; during the 20th century it simply moved from a prevailing mystical perception to a more scientific one. (…)
From the standpoint of molecular and genocentric outlook of life the complex vesicles would never be treated as anything similar to organisms, not even as a proper path to them, maybe only as a suitable environment for a start of a true molecular origin of life process. The reason is that it is difficult to envision, how they could acquire the genetic apparatus with a functioning genetic code. But if we assume a different perspective that sees life in terms of organized information expressed through well ordered physical and physicochemical states, these vesicles become much more interesting and worthy of further and closer study. (…)
We have two different outlooks on nanobacteria and NVs in general, both with their own proper argumentation. Which view is closer to truth? I will propose a bold hypothesis that both of them are right in their own way, representing two facets of the same reality. First, the dispute about the biological status of nanobacteria and NVs in general demonstrates the already mentioned embarrassing situation within biology that the latter has no general definition of its basic research theme—life. What from a certain standpoint may seem to be a living organism may from another view be regarded as a non-living system. Of course, this does not come to the fore when we think about indisputably living organisms like humans, animals and plants. But if we approach certain limits (usually connected with smallness), when some systems may still demonstrate certain characteristics of life, while lacking others, the absence of the life’s definition presents a big challenge.
From the standpoint of the origin of life problem, we may raise a hypothesis that a broad span of NVs represents just a passage from the inanimate to the living world. Various synthetic bions and biomorphs may truly represent only very complex forms of precipitation (crystallization) of various chemicals. On the other hand, at least some nanobacteria—perhaps the ones found in bodily fluids—may represent factual living beings with the capability of adaptation and evolution. Somewhere in this strange nano-world there may run the demarcation line between life and non-life—and again, its position depends on our definition of life. In the light of this consideration, three important consequences logically follow:
a) The origin of life was not a moment in some distant geological past—it is all the time here with us, not as a “miraculous” moment, but as a permanent passage of certain (nano)vesicular systems (we may assume this is taking place within the realm of nanobacteria, but may also in bions).
b) The “origin of life” (more appropriately the emergence of living systems) is not so unfavorable, so an improbable event as it is imagined in the conventional biology.
c) This simplicity of the emergence of living beings strongly supports the assumption that life is not only a molecular phenomenon, but is primarily based on self-organizational capacities of mesoscopic (vesicular) systems that include not only their (robust) chemistry, but overall their physics and physical chemistry.
If we adopt the here offered definition of life that is not bound to its chemical basis, but to a specifically organized information, we may safely assume that our known and unambiguous (DNA-RNA-proteins) life (life 2) is surrounded and even interspersed by a parallel life (life 1) that is much more robust. Its robustness is proved by its already described high resistance against many for ordinary organisms highly detrimental chemical and physical conditions (even to a high gamma radiation). This high robustness indicates that life 1 is not organized on a detailed molecular informational matrix as it is the case with life 2, but is rather much more slack, only roughly defined in its chemistry. (…) it is already clear that life 2 may not only pass to life 1, but it actually produces some of its forms. (…)
You can find the Italian version of this article here: