Dedicated to one of the great pioneers of this science, Leslie Orgel, on the occasion of his 80th birthday, this compilation of reviews and original manuscripts provides an overview of the current state of the art, written by some of the major players in this creative domain of 'explorative chemistry' (such as Christian De Duve, Albert Eschenmoser, G#nter W#chtersh#user).
Since we are still far from finding a definitive answer to the most fundamental of questions in science, 'chemistry' here is defined in its broadest sense. It is against this background that the contributions cover such a wide range of theories, including chemistry and selection, evolution of the pioneer organism, chemical aspects of synthetic biology, ribozyme catalysis of metabolism in the RNA world, intractable mixtures and the origin of life, the chemical etiology of nucleic acids, interstellar amino acids, and even the chemistry that preceded life's origin.
This is a book that will tcst the chemical knowledge of biologists, while providing a rich variety of pathways to explore in thinking about the origin of the biosphere. (The Quarterly Review of Biology, March 2009) "The editors have done their job in keeping their multitude of authors speaking with a common voice and a steady depth, and done an equally fine job of balancing opposing views ... .Most of the key players are here, and most of the key theories are presented in illuminating and informative depth." (Chemistry World, January 2009) "For students it is intellectually appealing, for lecturers it includes valuable information and numerous colored figures, and researchers will find it stimulating." (Angewandte Chemie, October 20, 2008)
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