• 12 NOV 19
    • 0

    Exploring sequence space by Recombination in the RNA world – ExploRNA

    We propose to explore the potential of recomination (as an alternative to template-based polymerization) to provide the evolutionary properties of reproduction and variation in a preboitic context.

    Building a chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution indeed remains a fully open challenge. Such a realization would be a crucial step toward the understanding of abiogenesis. So far, the only RNA system able of self-reproduction and of a diversity of states is based on recombination of fragments into ribozymes (RNA catalysts) catalysing their own recombination. However, self-reproduction is not yet evolution. Indeed, the generation of molecular innovations and sustaining them are other nevessary conditions for evolution.

    We propose here to exploit the ability of self-reproducing recombinase ribozymes to catalyse the random shuffling of fragments other than the substrates of their own formation. The products od the shuffling can in particular lead to the formation of sequences with novel functions. When theses sequences enhance their own formation by recombination, this would lead to an expanded autocatalytic cycle that is recombinase dependent. Realizing such a transition would provide a proof of concept of an elementary evolutionary step based on recombination.

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