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… Expand
The RNA World at Thirty: A Look Back with its Author
  • N. Sankaran
  • Biology, Medicine
  • Journal of Molecular Evolution
  • 2016
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. Expand
On the Emergence of RNA
Whether there was an RNA world or not, it is indisputable that there was RNA; when, where, and how is yet to be settled. The question of whether “pristine” RNA assembled directly from its componentsExpand
The new age of RNA
  • M. W. Gray, R. Cedergren
  • Biology, Medicine
  • 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. Expand
How the discovery of ribozymes cast RNA in the roles of both chicken and egg in origin-of-life theories.
  • N. Sankaran
  • Biology, Medicine
  • Studies in history and philosophy of biological and biomedical sciences
  • 2012
The history the role of RNA in origin-of-life theories is traced with a focus on how the discovery of ribozymes influenced the discourse, which posited an early phase in the evolution of life where all key functions were performed by RNA molecules. Expand
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. Expand
Postscript: On the Place of Theory and Experiment in Molecular Biology
It is suggested that biology—even at its molecular level—is mostly too complex to allow effective theorization. Expand
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. Expand
A Non-paradoxical Pathway for the Chemical Evolution Toward the Most Primitive RNA-Based Life-like System
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. Expand
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. Expand
The prebiotic role of adenine: A critical analysis
  • R. Shapiro
  • Biology, Medicine
  • 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. Expand


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 whoExpand
Self-splicing RNA: Autoexcision and autocyclization of the ribosomal RNA intervening sequence of tetrahymena
It is proposed that the IVS portion of the RNA has several enzyme-like properties that enable it to break and reform phosphodiester bonds and that enzymes, small nuclear RNAs and folding of the pre-rRNA into an RNP are unnecessary for these reactions. Expand
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 inExpand
The RNA moiety of ribonuclease P is the catalytic subunit of the enzyme
The RNA moieties of ribonuclease P purified from both E. coli and B. subtilis can cleave tRNA precursor molecules in buffers containing either 60 mM Mg2+ or 10 mM MG2+ plus 1 mM spermidine, and in vitro, the RNA and protein subunits from one species can complement sub units from the other species in reconstitution experiments. Expand
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  • Biology, Medicine
  • Journal of molecular biology
  • 1968
Abstract It is argued that the evolution of the genetic apparatus must have required the abiotic formation of macromolecules capable of residue-by-residue replication. This suggests thatExpand
Origin of the Genetic Code
It is considered that originally only a few amino acids were coded, but that most of the possible codons were fairly soon brought into use and the code became frozen in its present form. Expand
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. Expand
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 ofExpand
The design of novel replicating polymers
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