As origens químicas da vida e sua evolução primeva: uma introdução

terça-feira, setembro 20, 2011

The chemical origins of life and its early evolution: an introduction

David M. J. Lilley1,* and John Sutherland2

Author Affiliations

1Cancer Research UK Nucleic Acid Structure Research Group, MSI/WTB Complex, The University of Dundee, Dow Street, Dundee DD1 5EH, UK
2MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 0QH, UK

*Author for correspondence (


Can we look at contemporary biology and couple this with chemical insight to propose some plausible mechanisms for the origin of life on the planet? In what follows, we examine some promising chemical reactions by which the building blocks for nucleic acids might have been created about a billion years after the Earth formed. This could have led to self-assembling systems that were based on an all-RNA metabolism, where RNA is both catalytic and informational. We consider the breadth of RNA enzymes presently existing in biology, and to what extent these might have covered a wider range of chemistry in the RNA world. Ultimately, the RNA world would probably have given way to protein-based life quite quickly, and the origins of peptidyl transferase activity are discussed below.

prebiotic chemistry, self-assembling systems, RNA world, ribozymes, ribosome


One contribution of 17 to a Discussion Meeting Issue ‘The chemical origins of life and its early evolution’.

This journal is © 2011 The Royal Society