The Physics of Life. Part I: The Animate Organism as an Active Condensed Matter Body

Preprint English OPEN
Kukuruznyak , Dmitry , (2017)
  • Publisher: HAL CCSD
  • Subject: abiogenesis | morphogenesis | active matter | molecular machines | prebiotic evolution | basic cell | [ PHYS.COND.CM-SCM ] Physics [physics]/Condensed Matter [cond-mat]/Soft Condensed Matter [cond-mat.soft]

Nonequilibrium "active agents" establish bonds with each other and create a quickly evolving condensed state known as active matter. Recently, active matter composed of motile self-organizing biopolymers demonstrated a biotic-like motion similar to cytoplasmic streaming. It was suggested that the active matter could produce cells. However, active matter physics cannot yet define an " organism " and thus make a satisfactory connection to biology. This paper describes an organism made of active agents and explains how the active condensed matter could produce animate beings. It argues that life is a specific condensed matter phenomenon and describes this phenomenon. From this perspective, it formulates a hypothesis regarding the origin of biological life. The discussion starts from the model active agents and the conceptual description of an animate form. Then it explains how chemical transformations actuate protein-based macromolecules. It speculates on how these macromolecules produce the basic cell. Then it discusses the role of water in biological cells. Taking a physicist's perspective, this paper describes ordered reconstructions of the active condensed matter, driven by the ongoing condensation of this matter.
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