Molecular Creation (logo) A Story of Natural Molecular Evolution from Atoms and Water to the living Cell

Molecular Creation - logo

J. C. Collins, PhD

Dedicated to the late Stanford University Professors: William S. Johnson and Carl Djerassi

Visit for a detailed analyses of proteins and nucleic acids.


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Seventy years ago, a little book appeared which helped to change the course of biochemical history and, with recent discoveries, may help to change it once again. In 1944, Erwin Schrodinger, one of the fathers of quantum mechanics, wrote in “What is Life?” that the information for reproduction is within a molecule in the living cell.1 Francis Crick, who collaborated with James Watson in the construction of the model for DNA, credits that book with giving him the idea that DNA might be that molecule.2  In the book, Dr. Schrodinger also pointed out that liquid water, as the environment in which the original development of natural molecules took place, reversed the Laws of Physics. Based on the Second Law of Thermodynamics, molecular systems should have moved spontaneously from order toward disorder but natural molecular development appears to have moved in the opposite direction - from extremely simple molecular forms, like formaldehyde and methane, to proteins and biomembranes which function with such incredible efficiency and order that they may never be fully understood.3 However, recent studies have revealed that it was surface water which, most likely, not only reversed thermodynamics but provided the spatial criteria for their selection as integral components of the living cell.

The purpose of the story which follows is to provide a pictorial view of how the unique properties of water might have been involved in producing the incredible phenomenon we know as “life.” Of course, the probability that natural molecules could have formed spontaneously in a gaseous environment is close to zero.3 However, we now know that water molecules are held together on surfaces by two different types of hydrogen-bonding.4 Columbic attraction between point-charges on surfaces holds molecules and ions together at multiple angles and distances to provide for stability and mobility.5 However, hydrogen-bonding also is “covalent.”6 In ice, covalent bonds are stable but, when they form on non-hydrogen-bonding surfaces above 0oC, they produce relatively ridged, but unstable, linear and hexagonal elements of hydration.7,8 By rapidly rotating from covalent bonding to higher-energy point-charge bonding, individual water molecules remove quantized units of energy from ordering surfaces and move molecules within those surfaces from randomness toward order.9,10 Thus, surface water, by moving spontaneously from order toward disorder, not only reversed thermodynamics in biomolecular evolution, but provides for spontaneity and order within living cells today.11

As you read what follows, you will be amazed how the bonding properties of atoms and water molecules set in motion the spontaneous formation of the molecular components of life. In other words, the omega was defined by the alpha - if life should cease and the conditions which brought it forth are here once more, it will form once more.


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