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dc.contributor.authorWalton, Craig
dc.contributor.authorShorttle, Oliver
dc.date.accessioned2021-10-30T01:12:59Z
dc.date.available2021-10-30T01:12:59Z
dc.date.issued2021-09-16
dc.identifier.citationLife (Basel, Switzerland), volume 11, issue 9
dc.identifier.issn2075-1729
dc.identifier.otherPMC8472051
dc.identifier.other34575124
dc.identifier.urihttps://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/330090
dc.description.abstractCompartmentalisation by bioenergetic membranes is a universal feature of life. The eventual compartmentalisation of prebiotic systems is therefore often argued to comprise a key step during the origin of life. Compartments may have been active participants in prebiotic chemistry, concentrating and spatially organising key reactants. However, most prebiotically plausible compartments are leaky or unstable, limiting their utility. Here, we develop a new hypothesis for an origin of life environment that capitalises upon, and mitigates the limitations of, prebiotic compartments: multi-compartmentalised layers in the near surface environment-a 'scum'. Scum-type environments benefit from many of the same ensemble-based advantages as microbial biofilms. In particular, scum layers mediate diffusion with the wider environments, favouring preservation and sharing of early informational molecules, along with the selective concentration of compatible prebiotic compounds. Biofilms are among the earliest traces imprinted by life in the rock record: we contend that prebiotic equivalents of these environments deserve future experimental investigation.
dc.languageeng
dc.publisherMDPI AG
dc.rightsAttribution 4.0 International
dc.rights.urihttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
dc.sourceessn: 2075-1729
dc.sourcenlmid: 101580444
dc.subjectOrigin of life
dc.subjectprebiotic chemistry
dc.subjectEarly Earth
dc.titleScum of the Earth: A Hypothesis for Prebiotic Multi-Compartmentalised Environments.
dc.typeArticle
dc.date.updated2021-10-30T01:12:58Z
prism.publicationNameLife (Basel)
dc.identifier.doi10.17863/CAM.77534
dcterms.dateAccepted2021-09-14
rioxxterms.versionofrecord10.3390/life11090976
rioxxterms.versionVoR
rioxxterms.licenseref.urihttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
dc.contributor.orcidWalton, Craig [0000-0003-2659-644X]
dc.contributor.orcidShorttle, Oliver [0000-0002-8713-1446]
dc.identifier.eissn2075-1729
pubs.funder-project-idNERC (NE/L002507/1)
pubs.funder-project-idNatural Environment Research Council (2072939)
cam.issuedOnline2021-09-16


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Attribution 4.0 International
Except where otherwise noted, this item's licence is described as Attribution 4.0 International