University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > MRC LMB Seminar list > On the origin of RNA and peptide synthesis: clues from biology and prebiotic chemistry

On the origin of RNA and peptide synthesis: clues from biology and prebiotic chemistry

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Recent chemical studies suggest that activated nucleotides could have formed prebiotically, however the oligomerisation of these nucleotides to RNA has seemed problematic because of the lack of control of linkage isomer formation. A prebiotically plausible protection reaction which potentially enables the exclusive formation of 3’,5’-linked short oligomers will be described. Analysis of the genetic code provides clues about the nature of RNA synthesis, and suggests that RNA was first replicated by ligation of short oligomers. Our results suggest that the oligomeric products of the prebiotic chemistry we have uncovered will be ideal building blocks for RNA . In one variant of the chemistry, short peptides are likely co-products suggesting an early origin for peptide synthesis in the RNA world.

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