Driving forces in the origins of life.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1098/rsob.200324
What were the physico-chemical forces that drove the origins of life? We discuss four major prebiotic 'discoveries': persistent sampling of chemical reaction space; sequence-encodable foldable catalysts; assembly of functional pathways; and encapsulation and heritability. We describe how a 'proteins-first' world gives plausible mechanisms. We note the importance of hydrophobic and polar compositions of matter in these advances.