Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 47–61

Stages of emerging life —Five principles of early organization


  • M. Eigen
    • Max Planck Institut für Biophysikalische Chemie
  • P. Schuster
    • Institut für Theoretische Chemie und Strahlenchemie der Universität Wien

DOI: 10.1007/BF02100223

Cite this article as:
Eigen, M. & Schuster, P. J Mol Evol (1982) 19: 47. doi:10.1007/BF02100223


Five principles underly the evolution of the genetic language: formation of stereoregular heteropolymers, selection through self-replication, evolution of quasispecies towards optimal structures, regulated cooperation between competitors through catalytic hypercycles and evaluation of translation products through compartmentalization. These principles are formulated and illustrated by means of experimental results

Key words

Prebiotic evolutionPolynucleotide replicationQuasispeciesHypercyclesCompartmentalization

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982