Molecular Diversity Required for the Formation of Autocatalytic Sets

Systems chemistry deals with the design and study of complex chemical systems. However, such systems are often difficult to investigate experimentally. We provide an example of how theoretical and simulation-based studies can provide useful insights into the properties and dynamics of complex chemical systems, in particular of autocatalytic sets. We investigate the issue of the required molecular diversity for autocatalytic sets to exist in random polymer libraries. Given a fixed probability that an arbitrary polymer catalyzes the formation of other polymers, we calculate this required molecular diversity theoretically for two particular models of chemical reaction systems, and then verify these calculations by computer simulations. We also argue that these results could be relevant to an origin of life scenario proposed recently by Damer and Deamer.


Life 2019, 9(1), 23;
Molecular Diversity Required for the Formation of Autocatalytic Sets
Wim Hordijk, Mike Steel and Stuart A. Kauffman