Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 348–353

Origin of life between scylla and charybdis

  • U. Niesert
  • D. Harnasch
  • C. Bresch
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF01734356

Cite this article as:
Niesert, U., Harnasch, D. & Bresch, C. J Mol Evol (1981) 17: 348. doi:10.1007/BF01734356

Summary

The “package model” discussed here is concerned with the preservation of genetic information by primordial compartments. Each viable “package” encloses a complete set of unlinked genes in varying numbers of copies. Due to stochastic distribution and error-prone replication two potent perils endanger the informational integrity of packages: fluctuation and mutation.

A computer simulation was used to quantify the effects of fluctuation, mutation, and package death by accident. Assuming reasonable rates for these parameters it is suggested that life started out with compartments containing not more than 3 different genes.

Key words

Origin of life Primitive compartments Hypercycle Mutation rate Computer simulation 

Abbreviations

A

adenine

C

cytosine

G

guanine

U

uracil

N

any one of these 4 bases

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • U. Niesert
    • 1
  • D. Harnasch
    • 1
  • C. Bresch
    • 2
  1. 1.Zentrallabor für MutagenitätsprüfungDeutschen ForschungsgemeinschaftFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Biologie IIIUniversität FreiburgFreiburgGermany