Colonies of cell-like structures form on materials from Mars and the Early Earth

What were the conditions that enable the emergence of life on earth? In the research article Spontaneous formation of prebiotic compartment colonies on Hadean Earth and pre-Noachian Mars, just published in the scientific journal ChemSystemsChem, Dr. Irep Gözen and coworkers at University of Oslo study how pools of phospholipid material are able spontaneously form dense protocell colonies on materials analogous to those that were prevalent on the Hadean Earth. The phospholipids were not only able to form on these types of materials, they were also able to develop, transform and to undergo what the authors describe as pseudo-division. Moreover, the researchers also observed the same type of behavior on materials obtained from Martian meteorites. According to Dr. Gözen and coworkers, their findings provide further support for the “Lipid World” hypothesis, which states that spontaneous aggregation of lipid materials played an important role in the origins of life.

An important part of understanding the role that lipid structures play in the emergence of life is understanding how they interact with polymers that have the capacity to store genetic information-storing capacity, such as RNA or DNA. In their work, Dr. Gözen and coworkers used BioPen to target selected surface regions containing protocells and expose them to RNA. Their results show that the protocells were not only capable of taking up RNA molecules from the surrounding solution, but that they were also able to retain the molecules for an extended period of time.

We congratulate Dr. Irep Gözen and her research group on their intriguing discovery and are very proud that have chosen to use BioPen in their work.

This article represents a part of a larger body of work from Irep Gözen’s Softlab Norway group on the role of lipid structures in the origins of life. You several publications on this topic in our BioPen publication library.