Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

2015 Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James (Jim) CleavesII, Daniele L. Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Daniel Rouan, Tilman Spohn, Stéphane Tirard, Michel Viso

RNA World

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-44185-5_1740

Synonyms

Definition

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.

Overview

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...

Keywords

In vitro evolution Ribosome Ribozyme RNA 
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References and Further Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Molecular BiologyThe Scripps Research InstituteLa JollaUSA