The RNA world is a hypothesized early stage in the evolution of life that may have preceded the last universal common ancestor (LUCA) of all modern organisms. In this scenario, ribonucleic acid ( RNA) was the sole information-rich biopolymer, performing both the catalytic and genetic roles played by proteins and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), respectively, in the modern cell. The proposed vestiges of the RNA world are found throughout modern biology, most notably in the central functional roles of RNA found in protein translation.
Darwin’s prediction that all modern life has descended from a single, primitive common ancestor has been thoroughly confirmed by modern biology (Grant and Carpenter 2003). Indeed, comparative genomics has begun to shed light on the genome content of the last universal common ancestor(LUCA), revealing a biochemically sophisticated cellular organism with an extensive metabolism and a fully modern form of protein...
KeywordsIn vitro evolution Ribosome Ribozyme RNA
References and Further Reading
- Agmon I et al (2009) Identification of the prebiotic translation apparatus within the contemporary ribosome. Available from Nature Precedings. http://precedings.nature.com/documents/2921/version/1
- Gesteland RF, Cech TR, Atkins JF (2006) The RNA world: the nature of modern RNA suggests a prebiotic RNA world. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, WoodburyGoogle Scholar
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- Schimmel P (2008) Development of tRNA synthetases and connection to genetic code and disease. Evolution 17:1643–1652. doi:10.1110/ps.037242.108.treeGoogle Scholar