Origins of life and evolution of the biosphere

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 389-423

First online:

Chemistry of potentially prebiological natural products

  • Albert EschenmoserAffiliated withLaboratory of Organic Chemistry, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

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A relationship between what might be called a kinetic version of Le Chatelier's principle and chemical self-organization is considered. Some aspects of the search for a pre-RNA genetic system are discussed. Results of an experimental investigation on the pairing properties of alternative nucleic acid systems — including those of pyranosyl-RNA (‘p-RNA’), a constitutional isomer of RNA — are summarized.