I am currently working on a paper that will review thermal protein
(proteinoid) microsphere protocell research (henceforth to be referred to as
thermal protocell research). I am currently reading published articles for
background information, and I have noticed something interesting. Thermal
protocell research continues to advance; it has now reached the point where
it has been demonstrated [Pappelis A and Fox SW. "Domain Protolife." In C
Ponnamperuma and J Chela-Flores, Eds., _Chemical Evolution: Structure and
Model of the First Cell_, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, Netherlands,
1995, 129-132] that thermal protocells can use light to produce ATP, use ATP
to produce polynucleotides using thermal proteins as templates, and use
polynucleotides as templates to produce polypeptides. Yet there seems to be
little interest or awareness of these results outside of a minority group of
scientists. In my opinion, thermal protocells can provide the explanation
for the initiation of the RNA world, and that a synthesis of thermal
protocell and RNA world research would in fact provide the best explanation
for the origin of life on earth. Yet there seems to be an attempt by many
among the "gene-first" perspective to ignore thermal protocells as
What I would like are the opinions of the members of this forum, particularly
on the following questions:
Are thermal protocells irrelevant? Why or why not.
What is the best evidence that supports/refutes the claim that thermal
protocells are a valid explanation for the origin of life on earth?
Are thermal protocells alive? Why or why not.
I am particularly interested in critiques of thermal protocell research
published post-1990, especially in peer-reviewed journals; I am having
difficulty finding any.
Any general comments, opinions, references, etc., will also be welcome.
Please do not hesitate to respond privately if you prefer at
<kevinlob at email.com>.
Thank you in advance for your time and responses.
Kevin L. O'Brien