Evolution in bioids: Hypercompetitivity as a source of bistability and a possible role of metal complexes as prenucleoprotic mediators of molecular asymmetry
Spontaneous production of optically active compounds can occur through kinetic instability of an asymmetric steady state in open systems, in which two enantiomeric autocatalysts compete for a common prochiral substrate in a stereoselective reaction of ordern>2. For the case ofn=3, a proof of instability of a symmetric reacting state in the general case, and functions of reaction parameters (‘Chemical Reynolds Numbers’) governing the existence and stability of 7 different steady states are derived. The ‘extinct state’ (without autocatalyst) is stable; a finite amount of products is required to shift it into one of the reacting steady states. A mutation from one state into another in such systems (‘bioids’) involves an amplification of different ‘kinds of information’, as ‘stochastic’ (noise into dissipative structures), ‘molecular’ (autocatalysts), and ‘stoichiometric’ information. Stereospecific third order kinetics are believed to be realizable on octahedral metal complexes with two-dentated ligands and to have played a role in the prebiological evolution of optically active compounds.