Life on earth is frequently argued to have started with the formation of some small organic molecules, polymerized under prebiotic environmental conditions. Facts surrounding the theories are hazy, owing to that fact that the origins of the universe itself and that of compounds critical for life appearance like oxygen, nitrogen, water and biomacromolecules are still matters of debate. Since the formation of biomacromolecules like RNA, DNA, and proteins, is generally considered relative to the origin of life and thus to the polymerization of small organic molecules, an absolute cloud of mystery veils this issue as experimentally-backed information lacks. Worse off, little attention has been paid to the fact that precursors of the first biomacromolecules had to be formed in parallel to or selected among many other macromolecules, logically
Recently, Dr. Michel Vert from the University of Montpellier (also an Emeritus CNRS Research Director) assessed the contributions of the components of polymerology, a neologism that includes chemistry, physical-chemistry, chirality, stability, degradation, replication and self-assembling, which were all crucial for the formation of macromolecules and thus of life on earth. In doing so, he proposed to explore the mysteries surrounding macromolecules and biomacromolecules emergences on Earth from a new viewpoint. In particular,, he hoped to critically compare the prebiotic appearance of macromolecules and biomacromolecules as they are now using today’s polymer science. His work is published in European Polymer Journal.
Dr. Michel Vert thoroughly reviewed polymerology where he considered macromolecule syntheses, effects of physical-chemistry, self-assembling, degradation and finally chirality 3.5 billion years after the appearance of small organic molecules. Next, he assessed the main characteristics of the parent families of synthetic macromolecules to which biomacromolecules belong. Lastly, he engaged in an assessment and review of biomacromolecules 3.5 billion years after prebiotic chemistry.
The author observed that despite the fact that the formation of chemicals that could have served as monomers was possible under prebiotic conditions; their evolution towards high molar mass molecules faced many obstacles in the light of today’s polymerology. He also acknowledged that despite the present technological advancement in matters polymerology, it is still not possible to offer credible origins of macromolecules under prebiotic environmental conditions although macromolecules did appear. Moreover, the comparison with polymerology was noted to offer emphasis on the pertinence of the natural choices that led to the outstanding smartness of biomacromolecules.
In summary, Dr. Michel Vert presented plausible arguments in favor of consistent routes to the first biomacromolecules, where the reference to polymerology was seen to offer emphasis on obstacles that complemented those occasionally found in the origin of life literature. He acknowledged that the historical divergence between synthetic polymers and biomacromoleculessciences should be remedied if one wants to have a chance to solve the mysteries surrounding their genesis. Altogether, polymerology is still in its cradle, it is therefore plausible that one day it will aid resolve the outlined mysteries.
Michel Vert. Prebiotic macromolecules and today’s biomacromolecules in the light of polymerology.. European Polymer Journal, volume 100 (2018) page 25–36..Go To European Polymer Journal