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FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2001 Dec;25(5):573-82.

From self-assembly of life to present-day bacteria: a possible role for nanocells.

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  • 1Laboratory of Microbial Technology, Department of Environmental Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1.


A proposed sequence of major events for the self-assembly of life on Earth is examined. This sequence starts with a construction kit of elements and simple compounds from which a primitive membrane and then a nanocell with a minimal genome is self-assembled. The genome and cell increase in size and complexity and become capable of cell division, similar to present-day bacteria. Another factor to understanding this self-assembly of life is identifying the energy source(s) the first self-assembling nanocells were capable of using. This will also be examined from an evolutionary perspective with hydrogen as the postulated universal energy source [Morita, R. (2000) Microb. Ecol. 38, 307-320].

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