The dawn of the RNA World:toward functional complexity through ligation of random RNA oligomers


A main unsolved problem in the RNA World scenario for the origin of life is how a template-dependent RNA polymerase ribozyme emerged from short RNA oligomers obtained by random polymerization on mineral surfaces. A number of computational studies have shown that the structural repertoire yielded by that process is dominated by topologically simple structures, notably hairpin-like ones. A fraction of these could display RNA ligase activity and catalyze the assembly of larger, eventually functional RNA molecules retaining their previous modular structure: molecular complexity increases but template replication is absent. This allows us to build up a stepwise model of ligation- based, modular evolution that could pave the way to the emergence of a ribozyme with RNA replicase activity, step at which information-driven Darwinian evolution would be triggered.

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Divisions: College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > Systems analytics research institute (SARI)
Additional Information: Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-NC), as described at This license permits non-commercial use, including reproduction, adaptation, and distribution of the article provided the original author and source are credited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: RNA folding,structural motif,modular evolution,RNA ligation,hairpin ribozyme,RNA polymerase
Publication ISSN: 1469-9001
Last Modified: 31 May 2024 07:11
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2013 09:12
Full Text Link: http://rnajourn ... ontent/15/5/743
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2009-05
Published Online Date: 2009-03-24
Authors: Briones, Carlos
Stich, Michael (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-8862-1044)
Manrubia, Susanna C.


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