A Peptide–Nucleic Acid Replicator Origin for Life

Piette, Bernard MAG, and Jonathan G. Heddle. “A peptide–nucleic acid replicator origin for life.” Trends in ecology & evolution 35, no. 5 (2020): 397-406.

Evolution requires self-replication. But, what was the very first self-replicator directly ancestral to all life? The currently favoured RNA World theory assigns this role to RNA alone but suffers from a number of seemingly intractable problems. Instead, we suggest that the self-replicator consisted of both peptides and nucleic acid strands. Such a nucleopeptide replicator is more feasible both in the light of the replication machinery currently found in cells and the complexity of the evolutionary path required to reach them. Recent theoretical and mathematical work supports this idea and provide a blueprint for future investigations.

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