You might say this fairy tale is a love story which happened a long, long time ago, 4 billion years ago to be precise. It started with 2 lonely molecules that just happened to meet at the local primordial soup pond. There was some interesting chemistry between them so the spent some time together and eventually created life as we know it.
Once upon a time there was a puddle on the shoreline of a primitive sea, just above the high tide line. For centuries the high tide splashed in some sea water, and when the tide receded the sun evaporated leaving a mix of salt crystals. You might think of it as primordial soup that everyday evaporated into primordial slime of condensed organic jerky.
This particular pond had an interesting chemical history. A few organic chemicals from a distant shore were washed in on the tide and reacted with the organic jerky in the pond and our first lonely molecule came into being - an amino acid named Polar as he, or she had a bit of an electric character with an affinity for water.
By and large, there came on the tide, another lonely amino acid named Hydrophobic, a bit of an oily character who did not like water very much and was exceedingly glad to be deposited into the puddle by the high tide. There in the dry spell the two lonely molecules found each other and fell in love. They got on like a salad dressing made from oil and vinegar. Lo and behold they joined in natural matrimony and became as one, a bipeptide.
Soon they got a bit lonely and it was with great joy that one day another amino acid arrived. During the dry spell they linked up with it and lo they entered into a polymer relationship of polypeptide bliss. Eventually they were joined by others and formed a tight and harmonious community called Protein.
One day our some lovely smelling molecules called aromatics appeared in the puddle where our happy community of Protein lived. Their names were Purine and Pyrimidine. Having a dislike for water they readily joined the community who welcomed them with open atoms. The aromatics added a sweet smelling flavour to the community. They collectively dreamed of a companion community who could join with them to replicate themselves into a more meaningful community, something of substance and purpose, something with a destiny.
Unbeknown to our aromatic delight, not far away in another puddle, another community of amino acids had come together as one, but on a hugely different level. Early in this one’s development a molecule with a rather exotic history arrived on the tide. This one was, as legend has it, formed from substances that came from interstellar space which fell in debris from a comet near our little puddle. These exotics reacted with salts forming our unique and very lonely molecule. His name was Catalyst because of his reactive nature.
Now Catalyst was one day washed into our second puddle by the tide and met the budding hydrophobic community that inhabited the puddle. This little dynamo introduced a dynamism in this community. Many more aminos and some other exotic s got washed by the tide and joined this industrious and tightly knit community, eventually evolving into one versatile entity with a dry sense of humour and salty temperament .This dapper and handsome molecule called Fred (First REplicating Device), due to his virile nature. Through the sludge vine he heard rumours of a lovely aromatic and oily molecule existing in a puddle not far away. He dreamed of great things to come, that he would be the father of all things, if only he could get his atoms on the chain of his dreams.
Driven by a longing he could not contain and a destiny he felt was his, the hydrophobic Fred allowed himself to be washed out of the puddle called home by the tide and soon was splashed into the puddle of the aromatic oily one. It was love at first sight and with great excitement Fred introduced himself. The oily one seemed to have no name so Fred named her Sofia (Sequence Of Fred InformAtion) and so the courtship began and the first transcription replication occurred which would change the world forever.
Fred attached his atoms to the lovely aromatic elements of Sofia in catalytic ecstasy. The frenetic energy this caused attracted a hydrophobic amino acid from the primordial soup in the puddle. Each sweet smelling element of Sofia chain that the ecstatic Fred read with his excited atoms attached more aminos from the sludge. At last the exhausted Fred reaches the end and detaches from the enthralled Sofia. The long chain of hydrophobes detaches from Fred and the proud parents look on with wonder as the miracle takes place. The newly formed chain responds with attraction and repulsions with each other and the surround watery soup, and after a good deal of folding into a globular blob, baby Fred Junior emerges, an exact replica of Fred.
The two Fred’s eye each other, father Fred discovers he has not paternal feelings for junior, especially when Junior start eyeing out the gorgeous Sofia, and while the exhausted father Fred tries to recover from his exertions, Junior who is full of newly formed energy succumbs to temptation and latches onto Sofia and begins to read her like a book, producing another Fred.
Lo and behold before the tide returns to replenish the aminos in the puddle, the puddle is full of potent Fred making Fred’s, all exactly the same, and all waiting their turn to hook up with Sofia. Poor Sofia.
In the home puddle things are not looking to rosy. Too many Fred’s and only one Sofia. Some Fred’s get washed out, lost in the ocean. Others take on a new amino splashed into the puddle by the tide that produces a Ferd or a Fezd and collapse into chaos. Father Fred realises that something else, some other natural miracle must take place, so that more Sophia’s can come about.
Long, long ago in a primordial puddle, the first Fred looks up to the sky from whence once a part of him fell from. He hears a soft whisper in the wind, holy Selection of the Natural speaks for the first time a word of wisdom from the source of all knowledge, Evo Lution, saying “Don’t worry, anything and everything is possible given enough time”
As the wind dies down the first Fred looks back into the puddle at the Fred congregating around Sofia. “If only each of us had a Sofia of our own, what happiness and progress would be ours”End of Part 1