Chemical evolution and life

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In research on the origins of life, the concept of “chemical evolution” aims at explaining the transition from non-living matter to living matter. There is however strong disagreement when it comes to defining this concept more precisely, and in particular with reference to a chemical form of Darwinian evolution: for some, chemical evolution is nothing but Darwinian evolution applied to chemical systems before life appeared; yet, for others, it is the type of evolution that happened before natural selection took place, the latter being the birthmark of living systems. In this contribution, I review the arguments defended by each side and show how both views presuppose a dichotomous definition of “life”.

This content has been updated on 8 November 2019 at 16 h 25 min.