I will begin with an example from embryology, then turn to metabolism, and finish with the breadth of chemical space covered by the natural amino acids.
If you “listen to the experts,” or anyway some of the experts, cells are “little bags of garbage” and Miller-Urey is a “true simulation of prebiotic chemistry.”
A reader must ask if an RNA molecule could possibly govern chemical reactions, suppress free-riders, support co-operators, and act in its own self-interest.
A gold rush makes sense. But a copper rush? Not so much. And yet, perhaps there is more to gold than aesthetics.
Some recent work suggests it all happened at once in a sort of “chemical big bang.”