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Elias Chatzitheodoridis, National Technical University of Athens, Greece
Sohan Jheeta, Independent Research Scientist, UK
Martin Dominik, University of St Andrews, UK
Nigel Mason, The Open University, UK

John Allen, UCL, UK




The exact origin of life remains an unfathomable mystery, however this does not mean that it will always remain so. Given that life on Earth did emerge, there must have been physico-chemical reactions that allowed this to happen - in the absence of an omnipotent “being” or an extraordinary event, whereby life arose, once only, more or less in the form of a ready-made unit of cells, bypassing the necessary chemical evolution and dispensing with the laws of physics, as claimed by all religions. Such physico-chemical reactions can result in diametrically opposed viewpoints; that is, either that life-giving reactions miraculously occurred only once, intimating that we are alone in the Universe, or, that the reactions of life are so common that galaxies could be laden with living entities everywhere.

At the centre of these viewpoints is the question of consciousness and intelligence. These human attributes become germane and important, as without these living beings, there would no-one around to ask the question of " life, the Universe and everything”, to take an extract from Douglas Adam’s 1979 sci-fi book.. In short, the emergence and evolution of consciousness and intelligence is also inextricably linked to the origin of life, although during the largest part of Earth’s history (perhaps, over 80%) slime was the only occupant (Seilacher,et al., 1998; Jheeta, 2017); human intelligence having only evolved perhaps less than100,000 years or so ago. It is from this stance that we will address the topic of Molecules to Microbes (see editorial paper of the same title); the latter gave rise to eukaryotes, which eventually developed into the intelligent observer. Everyone looking back through the history and evolution of the Universe is asking: how did life begin on Earth and is there life elsewhere in the Universe?

Life is an extremely complex puzzle – how did it begin? To answer this question necessitates extensive co-operation between areas of sciences, even ones such as philosophy because complex and multi-faceted investigation and evaluation processes are required. Other areas which demand our attention are a deeper understanding of the self-organising properties of nature and an appreciation of the fact that the reactions of life may were more probable than improbable. With this in mind, the network of researchers on the origin of life and other like-minded scientists interested in answering the question of the emergence of life on Earth or elsewhere in the Universe are invited to air and share their research or theories at our 2018 conference on the 5-6 November 2018 at the Eugenides Foundation in Athens, Greece.

Adams, D, The Hitcher’s Guide to the Galaxy 1979 Pan Books
Seilacher, A.; Bose, P.K.; Pflüger, F. TriploblasticAnimals More Than 1 Billion Years Ago: Trace Fossil Evidence from India.Science 1998, 282, 80–83. 1.
Jheeta,S. 2017, Life. 7: 1-11. doi:10.3390/life7020027
Sandeep Ameta, ESPCI, Paris, France
Rowena Ball, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
Guiseppe Battaglia, UCL, London, UK
Tom Beatty, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Sherri Christian, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St Johns, Canada
Rosanna Del Gaudio, Universita degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Naples, Italy
Kevin Devine, London Metropolitan University, UK
Obini E Ekpe, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Nigeria
Alex Ellery, Dept of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
Fouad El Badouri, University of Lincoln, UK
Stefan Fox, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany
Michael Galperin, NCBI, Bethesda, USA
Gary Giulian, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, USA
Nolan Grunska, Montana State University, USA
Asif Iqubal, IIT Roorkee, India
Vladimir Kompanichenko, Institute for Complex Analysis, Birobidzhan, Russia
Christos Kotakis, Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
Lila Koumandou, Agricultural University of Athens, Greece
Oleg Kotsyurbenko, GeneXplain, Wolfenbuttel, Germany
Ramanarayanan Krishnamurthy, SCRIPPS Institute, California, USA
Andjelka Kovacevic, University of Belgrade, Serbia
Doron Lancet, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
Pauli Lane, Dept of Computer Science and Information Systems, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland
Andrew Lang, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St Johns, Canada
David Lilley, CR-UK Nucleic Acid Structure Research Group, University of Dundee, Scotland
Claudio Maccone, SETI, Italy
Panagiotis Madesis, CERTH, Thessaloniki, Greece
Saibal Mitra, Hoedekenskerke, Netherlands
Addy Pross, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Joseph Seckbach, Efrat, Israel
Ion Soterpoulos, Apeiron Centre, Paris, France
Savio Torres de Farias, Universidade Federal da Paraiba, Joao Pessoa, Brazil
Tamir Tuller, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Pavlos Tziourrou, University of Patras, Greece
Alla Voronina, Institute for Complex Analysis, Birobidzhan, Russia
Frances Westall, CNRS, Orleans, France
Network of Researchers on Horizontal Gene Transfer and Last Universal Common Ancestor | HGT | LUCA | RNA | Origin of Life | Viruses | DNA
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