Seeking a plausible prebiotic solution (and solvent) for the origin of RNA

Date: 
12/02/2016 - 4:00pm to 4:50pm
Location: 
CP-114
Speaker(s) / Presenter(s): 
Nicholas Hud

TITLE:  Seeking a plausible prebiotic solution (and solvent) for the origin of RNA 

ABSTRACT:  The RNA World remains a popular and influential hypothesis in origins of life research. However, prebiotic chemists are still lacking a plausible prebiotic synthesis for RNA. We are investigating the possibility that RNA was preceded by a polymer that would have assembled more easily than RNA (i.e., pre-RNA), and that non-aqueous solvents could have facilitated prebiotic nucleic acid synthesis and replication. In support of these theories, recent experiments have revealed alternative nucleobases that readily form nucleosides with ribose, a property not observed with the nucleobases of extant RNA. Alternative solvents have also been identified that allow nucleoside phosphorylation from water-insoluble minerals, as well as the polymerase-free transfer of information from long nucleic acid duplexes.

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