John D. Sutherland

27 February 2018
IOCB Prague
Prof. John D. Sutherland (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK)
Origins of Life Systems Chemistry
Date and time
27 February 2018, 10 a.m.
IOCB Prague, Lecture Hall (Building A, 2nd floor, A2.01)


By reconciling previously conflicting views about the origin of life – in which one or other cellular subsystem precedes, and then ‘invents’ the others – we suggested a new modus operandi for its study. Guided by this, we uncovered a cyanosulfidic protometabolism which uses UV light and the stoichiometric reducing power of hydrogen sulfide to convert hydrogen cyanide, and a couple of other prebiotic feedstock molecules which can be derived therefrom, into nucleic acid, peptide and lipid building blocks.1,2 We are now considering the transition of systems from the inanimate to the animate state through intermediate stages of partial ‘aliveness’, and recent progress in the elaboration of building blocks into larger (oligomeric) molecules and systems in this context will be described.


  1. B.H. Patel et al., Nature Chem. 2015, 7, 301.
  2. J. D. Sutherland, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2016, 55, 104.
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