The First Cell pp 115-160 | Cite as

A Hypothetical Approach: Hydrothermal Systems in the Early Continental Crust

  • Ulrich C. Schreiber
  • Christian Mayer


The development of life can be divided into six phases. Organic molecules can be formed vertically over long distances in the continental crust. Rock minerals’ dissolving releases phosphate, metals, boron, and other substances. A process of collection caused by rising supercritical gases leads to a strong accumulation in cavities (micro-autoclaves) and in the transition zone to the subcritical gas at approx. 1000 m. This is the place where vesicles and peptides are formed. The conditions are optimal for the energy required and the increase in entropy. The requirements for the formation of the first cell are discussed in a hypothetical model. According to the model, following the formation of the first unspecific synthetases and tRNAs, a selection of proteins began to form out of only two amino acids. Simultaneous storage of the information in an RNA enabled the development of specific synthetases with which the principle of life started.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulrich C. Schreiber
    • 1
  • Christian Mayer
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty for BiologyUniversity of Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany
  2. 2.Faculty for ChemistryUniversity of Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany

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