We consider the problem of structure and functions of the first forms of living matter and present a hypothesis that they were formed through a physico-chemical process known as dendritic crystallization. According to this hypothesis the branching, dendritic structures helped build living systems by lending them functions so that organic chemical evolution is just one natural consequence of the evolution of matter in the universe. We conclude that a self-replicating biological system with adaptation emerged from simple molecules using completely abiotic mechanism of formation, which acted simultaneously or intermittently at different places on the early Earth and created similar structures everywhere. The dendritic hypothesis of origin of the functions explains similarities in the living systems and supports the assumption of a ‘second genesis of life’. The dendritic scenario does not need carbon/phosphorus-based solutes in water-based solutions, which may have
important implications for exobiology and extraterrestrial origin-of-life scenarios. An experiment to test the hypothesis is suggested.
Umantsev, Alexander, "On the Origin of Biological Functions" (2011). Faculty Working Papers. 16.