The Path from the RNA World

@article{Poole1998ThePF,
  title={The Path from the RNA World},
  author={Anthony M. Poole and Daniel C. Jeffares and David Penny},
  journal={Journal of Molecular Evolution},
  year={1998},
  volume={46},
  pages={1-17}
}
Abstract. We describe a sequential (step by step) Darwinian model for the evolution of life from the late stages of the RNA world through to the emergence of eukaryotes and prokaryotes. The starting point is our model, derived from current RNA activity, of the RNA world just prior to the advent of genetically-encoded protein synthesis. By focusing on the function of the protoribosome we develop a plausible model for the evolution of a protein-synthesizing ribosome from a high-fidelity RNA… 

Relics from the RNA World

The model as developed serves as an outgroup to root the tree of life and is an alternative to using sequence data for inferring properties of the earliest cells.

The Ribosome Challenge to the RNA World

The translation system presents critical challenges to RNA World Hypotheses and it is suggested that an updated model of the RNA World should address the current state of knowledge of the translation system.

Does the Ribosome Challenge our Understanding of the RNA World?

It is argued that evolution of the early ribosome requires Darwinian evolution, and that, while chemical evolution could give rise to peptidyl transferase activity, it is insufficient for subsequent improvement of a proto-PTC, or for ongoing coevolution of the proto- PTC with its early non-templated peptide products.

Relicts and models of the RNA world

Molecular and functional properties of viruses and viroids may be considered as examples or models of the structures and replication mechanisms, which might have been used for the replication of the early biopolymers.

The transition from noncoded to coded protein synthesis: did coding mRNAs arise from stability-enhancing binding partners to tRNA?

This model proposes that genetic coding arose de novo from complementary base pair interactions between tRNAs and single-stranded RNAs present in the immediate environment.

Early evolution: prokaryotes, the new kids on the block.

It is argued here that the ribosome (together with the RNAs involved in its assembly) is so large that it must have had a prior function before protein synthesis, which can explain many steps in the origin of life while accounting for the observation that eukaryotes have retained more vestiges of the RNA world.

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  • H. Noller
  • Biology
    Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology
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It is proposed that translation originally arose not to synthesize functional proteins, but to provide simple (perhaps random) peptides that bound to RNA, increasing its available structure space, and therefore its functional capabilities.

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A 'Lipid-RNA World Scenario' based on the assumption that modern stable lipid-RNA interactions are molecular fossils of an ancient stage of evolution when RNA World originated from Lipid World is proposed, and an 'ice-covered hydrothermal vent' model of Hadean Ocean is presented.

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A 'Lipid-RNA World Scenario' based on the assumption that modern stable lipid-RNA interactions are molecular fossils of an ancient stage of evolution when RNA World originated from Lipid World is proposed, and an 'ice-covered hydrothermal vent' model of Hadean Ocean is presented.
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