Compartments are ubiquitous throughout biology, yet their importance stretches back to the origin of cells. In the context of origin of life, we assume that a protocell, a compartment enclosing functional components, requires N components to be evolvable. We take interest in the timescale in which a minimal evolvable protocell is produced. We show that when protocells fuse and share information, the time to produce an evolvable protocell scales algebraically in N, in contrast to an exponential scaling in the absence of fusion. We discuss the implications of this result for origins of life, as well as other biological processes.
Primordial Sex Facilitates the Emergence of Evolution
Sam Sinai, Jason Olejarz, Iulia A. Neagu, Martin A. Nowak