Hypothesis: The Plausibility Of The RNA World Hypothesis

Topics: DNA, Gene, Genetics Pages: 4 (815 words) Published: January 16, 2018

In 1989, Altman and Cech won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their discovery of catalytic RNA – which was instrumental for the RNA World Hypothesis ("Sidney Altman: The RNA World"). This hypothesis stated that early life started with RNA as they possess the ability to serve as a catalyst as well as contain genetic information. The RNA was able to spontaneously form under natural processes, which eventually replicated into all sorts of life. This paper will analyze the theoretical and experimental support for this hypothesis and comment on the plausibility of the RNA World Hypothesis.
The RNA World theory is very attractive as it presents a solution to the chicken and egg problem that happened when life first started. Namely, DNA holds the instructions...

It was slowly discovered that RNA could perform both duties. In 2006, Ferris published a paper demonstrating that montmorillonite clay (which is present on Earth today and caused by volcanic activity) was an efficient catalyst for the formation of RNA oligomers from monomers under laboratory conditions (Ferris). Another important experiment indicated that RNA that has one type of catalytic properties can evolve to RNA that has another type (Walter and Engelke). Combined, these two experiments give evidence that RNA was the basis of life as it could replicate and catalyze different things. While the theory after the formation of the first RNA molecule is not very controversial, there are concerns of how the first RNA molecule was formed.
As an organic molecule, RNA is quite complicated as its nucleotide has 9 or 10 carbon...

Since no potential replicator has been found today, then this earlier replicator may have been replaced by RNA. However, there are those that are opposed to the claims that any replicator could have spontaneously formed in the prebiotic world since the probability would be very unlikely. Any flaw would ruin its ability to act as a replicator. The pre-RNA theories suffer from much of the same issues as RNA World itself, but also introduces this new unknown and unobserved molecule. This makes it quite unattractive as it doesn’t fundamentally resolve the spontaneous formation...
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