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Pure Appl. Chem.
76(12), 2085-2099, 2004
Pure and Applied
Vol. 76, Issue 12
Modeling prebiotic catalysis with nucleic acid-like polymers and
its implications for the proposed RNA world
S. G. Srivatsan
Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur,
Kanpur-208016 (UP), India
Abstract: The theory that RNA molecules played a pivotal role
in the early evolution of life is now widely accepted. Studies related
to this hypothetical RNA world include three major areas:
the formation of precursors for the first RNA molecules, the polymerization
process, and the potential of RNA to catalyze chemical and biochemical
reactions. Several chemical and biochemical studies performed under
simulated prebiotic conditions support the role of RNA as both genetic
as well as catalytic material. However, owing to the lack of credible
mechanism for de novo nucleic acid synthesis and the hydrolytic instability
of RNA molecules, there has been some serious discussion of whether
biopolymers that closely resembled nucleic acid preceded the RNA
world. In this context, an overview of prebiotic chemistry, the
role of mineral surface, and the significance of studies related to
RNA-like polymers in the origin of life are presented here.
[full text - pdf 357KB]
* Pure Appl. Chem. 76,
2051-2099 (2004). A collection of invited, peer-reviewed articles
by the winners of the 2004 IUPAC Prize for Young Chemists.
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