Algorithms are everywhere these days as it is used for calculating, data processing, and automated reasoning. Whether people know it or not, algorithms are inevitably becoming part of everyone's lives. But what if it can also know the origins of life?
However, creating algorithms that help compute the origin of life is somewhat challenging. For example, putting the multivolume Beilstein's Handbook of Organic Chemistry online is no easy task, according to biochemist Fazale Rana. Textbooks were created to help teaching chemists use their massive database effectively.
Most often, researchers focus on identifying a single, comparatively simple idea that they believe makes all the difference. However, nothing connects it to the thousands of other factors in any systematic way which hampers studying the origins of life.
Alchemy, the computer algorithm that brought intriguing results
Scientists have thought of using Big Data to help them study the origins of life. According to Rana, the Polish Academy of Sciences has developed a computer algorithm that brought intriguing results.
This computer algorithm is called Alchemy, which showed the complex chemical mixtures that can produce interesting emergent features that include chemical evolution and the rise of chemical complexity and organization needed for the origins of life, Mashable reported.
Nonetheless, scientists have yet to understand how life could have emerged through evolutionary processes, said Rana. While the Beilstein model can generate many possibilities of how life started, it cannot tell what the conditions really were, so the model does not directly answer how life began.
Moreover, Rana said that chemical assortments must cope with unfriendly and external atmosphere, availability of energy sources, toxic concentrations, and kinetic effects. Any failure of the model could be a room for further improvement.
Intriguing results of Alchemy
Rana pointed out that Alchemy did turn something intriguing. That is a pattern that played itself out repeatedly that suggests chemistry might be rigged for life to begin that was not easy to spot in the past due to lack of computing resources.
All 82 biotic compounds, which formed a small fraction of nearly 37,000 compounds generated by the in silico reactions, all share physicochemical properties that make these compounds stable;e and relatively unreactive. These are qualities needed for materials to persist in the prebiotic setting.
Furthermore, scientists are intrigued that these 82 compounds display synthetic redundancy that can be produced by various chemical routes. They also found that these compounds have the right properties in fortuitous events that make them ideal for surviving on the conditions of early Earth and being useful as the building blocks of life.
In other words, Alchemy found that there must be constraints on prebiotic chemistry, which leads to the production of vital biotic molecules with the right properties that make them stable suited for producing life.
Ultimately, the laws of physics and chemistry must have been rigged at the outset to make sure that the building blocks of life still emerged even during the hostile conditions of Earth.
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