Template-Directed Replication of Nucleic Acids Mediated by Viscous Environments

  • Isaac Gállego
  • Christine He
Part of the Nucleic Acids and Molecular Biology book series (NUCLEIC, volume 35)


Many hypotheses concerning the nature of early life assume that genetic information was once transferred through the template-directed synthesis of RNA, prior to the evolution of genetically encoded protein synthesis. However, attempts at identifying the earliest mechanism for the protein-free, template-directed replication of nucleic acids remain an elusive goal. A fundamental biophysical problem known as strand inhibition limits copying of a nucleic acid duplex: transferring information from a template sequence in the presence of its complementary strand is inhibited by the stability of the template duplex. This chapter discusses state-of-the-art strategies and a novel method which uses viscous solvents to overcome strand inhibition during template copying, one of the most challenging problems in polymer self-replication.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isaac Gállego
    • 1
  • Christine He
    • 2
  1. 1.MRC-Laboratory of Molecular BiologyCambridgeUK
  2. 2.University of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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