Scientific biography:


Part One of the Treatise, a study of the process of origin and the nature of the protein

During this decade Cordón wrote Part One of the Treatise, whose title in the first edition was La alimentación base de la biología evolucionista (Nutrient as the Basis for an Evolutionist Biology). It was dedicated to the origin, nature and evolution of the proteins and its associations.

Part One starts with a long General Introduction (pp. 3-131), in which Cordón presents his view of the biological concepts that had been developed until that time.

His interpretation of the living being as an agent capable of action and experience, whose nature can only be understood by its origin in the process of evolution, forced him to define very precise concepts about:

  • Experience, as a field of forces of a specific physical nature, the essential quality of living beings.
  • Action, as an effect resulting from the coordinated and joint activity of the living beings of its soma.
  • The soma, as the sets of living beings of a lower level cooperating in establishing the physical fields of experience, of action and of the stimuli of the higher living being.
  • The medium, as the environment influenced by the action of the living being in each moment.
  • The environment, as the scope of the biosphere that is the potential object of action and experience of each living being, with its nutrient at its core.

After this introductory presentation, the author develops his proposal on the evolutive process that must have taken place from the culmination of the evolution of the molecule on the earth's surface to the first cell: the process that gave rise to the protein and to the evolution of proteins and their associations.

At the Institute of Applied Biology (IBA). Madrid, 1978

Today we have no direct data on the process of origin of the protein or the process of evolution of free proteins, but the nature of all proteins can be induced from the structural and functional data that are common to current proteins, which are all intracellular or stem from cells. In this stage of his life Cordón was able to explain with rigour, from the experimental data that are common to all proteins, the three types of reasons that indicate the nature of the protein:

  1. The protein soma is always formed by polypeptides folded by intermolecular forces (and sometimes also intramolecular ones) in a way that is perfectly determined in the soma of each type of protein;

  2. The protein action, guided by the protein psyche, is always an intermolecular force field that recognizes and manipulates its specific molecules one by one; and

  3. The protein environment is always formed by molecules dissolved in still water.

Cordón took as a basis his concept of the nature of the protein, and the known data on the evolution of the molecular composition on the Earth's surface, to induce a preliminary hypothesis of the process of molecular evolution in the external zone of the Earth's crust up to the origin of the first protein, explaining the selective advantage of each stage that he proposed.

“The evolution towards the protein was understood through the increasing dynamics of molecular associations (polypeptides). At a given moment it made a qualitative inflection. These associations acquired a specific physical field of secondary valences, of chemical affinities, that was capable of guiding the environment of loose molecules and of acquiring some and disposing of others when suitable. This is the first time that a being governs molecules and incorporates them in its soma.”

Cordón then induced the following evolutive order of the large types of globular proteins and their associations leading up to the origin of cell: first there emerged the heterotrophic globular proteins that fed on more complex molecules -small polypeptides- that they incorporated in their soma to replenish it; when these were exhausted, the autotrophic globular proteins that learned to feed on dissolved atmospheric methane and ammonia originated, and ended up forming associations; this was followed by the differentiation of neoheterotrophic globular proteins, which adapted to living on residues of associations of autotrophic proteins, and ended up organizing themselves in associations; and finally, a culminating association of neoheterotrophic globular proteins, which Cordón called the precellular heterotrophic association, must have given rise to the first cell. Evolutions Treatise of biology. Part One (pp. 139-602).

The reasoned and detailed interpretation of the evolution of proteins up to a culminating association specialised in feeding on degraded residues of associations of autotrophic proteins allowed Cordón to consider the origin of the first cell (a simple cellular membrane) from proteins.

Faustino Cordón: Biólogo Evolucionista by Herederos de Faustino Cordón, licensed under a Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-CompartirIgual 4.0 Internacional License. Licencia de Creative Commons