The Prebiotic Origin of the RNA nucleosides

The widely accepted RNA world hypothesis suggests that life first emerged from RNA, which is able to (self)-replicate and evolve. Replication of RNA requires formation of the complementary pyrimidine-purine Watson-Crick base pairs A:U and G:C, which are a prerequisite for accurate genetic information transfer. Although prebiotic pathways to RNA building blocks have been reported, no pathway has been able to generate all four constituents of RNA simultaneously. In order to find a prebiotically plausible scenario for the parallel formation of purine and pyrimidine bases to create the fundamental Watson-Crick base pairing system, we developed new prebiotically plausible chemistry to purines and pyrimidines under the same geochemical environment. Our results show that all central constituents of RNA could have been part of the same prebiotic nucleoside/tide pool, as a prerequisite for RNA to evolve on early Earth.

In the final part of the lecture I will show how the feedstock molecules of prebiotic chemistry could have formed on the early Earth and I will present a new model of how the RNA world developed into an RNA-peptide world.

Our chemistry suggests that the formation of RNA on the early earth was not guided by chance but is an inevitable consequence of early earth chemistry.

Seminars can be found at CAB YouTube channel: