Encyclopedia of Geobiology

2011 Edition
| Editors: Joachim Reitner, Volker Thiel

RNA-World

  • Joachim Reitner
  • Volker Thiel
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9212-1_176

The term “RNA-World,” first suggested by Walter Gilbert in 1986, describes a popular concept on a hypothetical early stage in the origin of life on Earth. Based on discoveries of enzymatic activities in microbial ribonucleic acids (RNA), a system was suggested where primordial RNA molecules accounted for both, the storage of genetic information and catalytic functions necessary to assemble themselves in a primitive self-replicating system. The RNA molecules evolved in self-replicating patterns, using recombination and mutation to explore new functions and to adapt to new niches (Gilbert, 1986). Such a system would not have required the presence of DNA and/or protein enzymes for biochemical reactions. For further reading, please refer to “Origin of Life.”

Keywords

Enzymatic Activity Genetic Information Biochemical Reaction Ribonucleic Acid Protein Enzyme 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Bibliography

  1. Gilbert, W., 1986. The RNA world. Nature, 319, 618.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joachim Reitner
    • 1
  • Volker Thiel
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GöttingenGöttingenGermany