Thermal Protocell Review Paper

Biochmborg at aol.com Biochmborg at aol.com
Thu Aug 26 11:54:26 EST 1999

Greetings Colleagues:

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

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