Tibor Gánti was born in 1933 in Vác, central Hungary. Gánti studied chemical engineering before becoming an industrial biochemist.
In 1966, Gánti published a book on molecular biology called Forradalom az Élet Kutatásában (Revolution in Life Research). In the work, he summarizes the prior achievements that had been made in experimental biology and explains the tasks to be solved in the future by a branch of science—molecular biology. The book asks whether science at that point understood how life was organized, and concluded that it did not.
In 1971 Gánti published another book, called Az Élet Princípiuma (The Principles of Life). Published only in Hungarian, this book contained the first version of his chemoton model, which described what he saw as the fundamental unit of life. In 1974, he published another version of his theory—again only in Hungarian.
In 1984, his first volume of Chemoton Theory: Theory of Living Systems was published, which shows the general principles of the theory of fluid automata. Volume two was published in 1989, which contains the application of the theory of fluid automata to living systems.
In 1971, Ganti published work based on theoretical models by American theoretical biologist Stuart Kauffman, who argued that living organisms must be able to copy themselves, and German chemist Manfred Eigen, who described what he called a “hypercycle,” in which several autocatalytic sets combine to form a single larger one. Ganti's writing built on these two models and proposed the following: every living organism has to build and maintain its body through a metabolism; and an organism has to have some sort of information storage system, such as a gene or genes, that could be copied and passed on to offspring.
In Ganti's second version of the model, published in 1974, he added a third system: an outer barrier. In living cells, this barrier is a membrane made of lipids. The chemoton had to have such a barrier to hold itself together, and Gánti concluded that it also had to be autocatalytic so that it could maintain itself and grow.
The proposed significance of the chemoton theory is that it offers a unified, common scientific background for chemical and biological phenomena.
Ganti taught ay Eotvos University in Budepest, Hungary as a guest lecturer in Industrial Biochemistry from 1968 to 1972.
No 'I' in Molecule: the Chemical Teamwork behind the Origin of Life - theGIST
July 17, 2020
The Principles of Life. Tibor Ganti. Review by Gert Korthof.