Current hypotheses about the origin of life posit that it may have started with either the replication, in a primordial soup, of genetic information-containing polymers with limited catalytic properties, (the “RNA World”), or with autocatalytic, and possibly interacting, metabolic pathways taking place on, or near, mineral surfaces. The latter possibility can be explored if a continuous geochemical, catalytically dynamic process is assumed. In this Essay it is speculated that the synthesis of the nucleic acid purine and pyrimidine bases originated on a mineral surface, which was later replaced by ATP.
Geochemical Continuity and Catalyst/Cofactor Replacement in the Emergence and Evolution of Life. Fontecilla-Camps JC. Angewandte Chemie International Edition. doi : 10.1002/anie.201808438