The origin of life is one of the most important but also one of the most difficult problems in science. Autocatalytic sets are believed to have played an important role in the origin of life. An autocatalytic set is a collection of molecules and the chemical reactions between them, such that the set as a whole forms a functionally closed and self-sustaining system. In this article, I present an overview of recent work on the theory of autocatalytic sets and on how this theory can be used to study the probability of emergence, the overall structure, and the further evolution of such systems, both in simple mathematical models and in real chemical systems. I also describe some (still speculative) ideas of how this theory can potentially be applied to living systems in general and perhaps even to social systems such as the economy.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 63 • No. 11