Replication of simulated prebiotic amphiphile vesicles controlled by experimental lipid physicochemical properties

Phys Biol. 2011 Dec;8(6):066001. doi: 10.1088/1478-3975/8/6/066001. Epub 2011 Sep 26.


We present a new embodiment of the graded autocatalysis replication domain (GARD) for the growth, replication and evolution of lipid vesicles based on a semi-empirical foundation using experimentally measured kinetic values of selected extant lipid species. Extensive simulations using this formalism elucidated the details of the dependence of the replication and properties of the vesicles on the physicochemical properties and concentrations of the lipids, both in the environment and in the vesicle. As expected, the overall concentration and number of amphiphilic components strongly affect average replication time. Furthermore, variations in acyl chain length and unsaturation of vesicles also influence replication rate, as do the relative concentrations of individual lipid types. Understanding of the dependence of replication rates on physicochemical parameters opens a new direction in the study of prebiotic vesicles and lays the groundwork for future studies involving the competition between lipid vesicles for available amphiphilic monomers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Kinetics
  • Lipid Bilayers / chemistry
  • Lipids / chemistry*
  • Liposomes / chemistry
  • Micelles*
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Chemical
  • Surface-Active Agents / chemistry*
  • Thermodynamics


  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Lipids
  • Liposomes
  • Micelles
  • Surface-Active Agents