Anticipating an RNA World Some Past Speculations on the Origin of Life: Where Are They Today?

  title={Anticipating an RNA World Some Past Speculations on the Origin of Life: Where Are They Today?},
  author={Leslie E. Orgel and Francis H. C. Crick},
  journal={The FASEB Journal},
About 25 years ago, one of us (L.E.O.) was unable to fulfill a commitment to speak on the origins of life at a symposium in London, and his place was taken by the other (F.H.C.C.).i Stimulated by the symposium, each of us (unknown to the other) independently produced a manuscript covering ideas we had developed in many earlier discussions. We agreed to exchange some subject matter between the manuscripts and produced two overlapping, highly speculative papers: one concentrating on the origin of… 

The RNA World at Thirty: A Look Back with its Author

For this special historical issue of the Journal of Molecular Evolution, Walter Gilbert agreed to revisit his RNA world hypothesis and share his memories about the theory’s origins and his insights into its fate in the years since he first published his idea.

On the Emergence of RNA

The facts are looked at that suggest RNA is an emergent system and that each component of RNA may have been decided at the level of the oligomer/polymer, and not at the levels of the prebiotic clutter, nor at thelevel of monomer nucleotides.

The new age of RNA

  • M. GrayR. Cedergren
  • Biology
    FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
  • 1993
The title, “The New Age of RNA,” was chosen to emphasize the increasing prominence that RNA has achieved as a result of novel aspects of its chemistry and biology that have been discovered or elucidated over the past decade or so, with many reviews in this issue dealing explicitly with various types of catalytic RNA.

How the discovery of ribozymes cast RNA in the roles of both chicken and egg in origin-of-life theories.

  • N. Sankaran
  • Biology
    Studies in history and philosophy of biological and biomedical sciences
  • 2012

A Hypothesis: Life Initiated from Two Genes, as Deduced from the RNA World Hypothesis and the Characteristics of Life-Like Systems

The hypothesis that the first life-like system could have initiated from only two genes is proposed and a conceptual analysis of the characteristics of biosystems is conducted as a useful approach to deduce a realistic life- like system in relation to the definition of life.

First Genetic Information Replication in Life Origin on Earth

One of the crucial factors for evolution, formation rate or turnover speeds of different genetic materials (DNA, RNA and protein), to further suggest an important role RNA may take in life origin on Earth is discussed.

A Non-paradoxical Pathway for the Chemical Evolution Toward the Most Primitive RNA-Based Life-like System

  • K. Kawamura
  • Biology
    Evolution, Origin of Life, Concepts and Methods
  • 2019
The knowledge obtained from experimental data on the chemical evolution of RNA and the theoretical work to deduce a realistic feature of the RNA-based life-like system are attempted.

Exploration of RNA Sequence Space in the Absence of a Replicase

It is hypothesized here that increasing sequence variety, if not complexity, can in fact readily emerge in response to a dynamic equilibrium between synthesis and degradation.

The prebiotic role of adenine: A critical analysis

  • R. Shapiro
  • Biology
    Origins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere
  • 2005
The hydrogen-bonding properties of adenine appear inadequate for it to function in any specific recognition scheme under the chaotic conditions of a prebiotic soup.



Genetic Takeover and the Mineral Origins of Life

A G Cairns–Smith 1982 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press ix + 477 pp price £15 Genetic Takeover is about the origins of life on earth. It presents a radical new point of view to those of us who

Modern metabolism as a palimpsest of the RNA world.

An approach is developed for constructing models of ancient organisms using data from metabolic pathways, genetic organization, chemical structure, and enzymatic reaction mechanisms found in

Evolution of the genetic apparatus.

  • L. Orgel
  • Biology
    Journal of molecular biology
  • 1968

Origin of the Genetic Code

Unusual resistance of peptidyl transferase to protein extraction procedures.

Findings support the possibility that 23S ribosomal RNA participates in the peptidyl transferase function, as judged by specific inhibition by the peptide bond formation-specific antibiotics chloramphenicol and carbomycin.

RNA-catalysed synthesis of complementary-strand RNA

The Tetrahymena ribozyme can splice together multiple oligonucleotides aligned on a template strand to yield a fully complementary product strand. This reaction demonstrates the feasibility of

The design of novel replicating polymers

  • In Encyclopaedia of Ignorance Duncan, R., and Weston-Smith,
  • 1977

Originofgenetic code. Nature(London)212, 1397 2. Crick, F. H. C. (1967) Origin of the genetic code

  • Nature
  • 1966