Preservation of Relics from the RNA World through Natural Selection, Symbiosis and Horizontal Gene Transfer

Chela-Flores, Julian (1994) Preservation of Relics from the RNA World through Natural Selection, Symbiosis and Horizontal Gene Transfer. (Preprint)

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Abstract

A difficulty arises if we conjecture that the RNA world may have left molecular relics that may still be extant. We discuss the possible roles that natural selection, symbiosis and horizontal gene transfer may have played in the evolutionary pathway of the earliest RNA replicators. The period that concerns us ranges from the time that separates the appearance of contemporary metazoans at the onset of the Phanerozoic, in the Paleozoic era (the Cambrian period, some 540 million years before the present Mybp), from the RNA world, namely in the Early Archean, or even earlier. In order to address this question we extend a previous treatment of this problem to non-pathogenic RNA replicators. The possibility of preservation of relics from the RNA world had been discussed earlier in the context of pathogenic RNA replicators (viroids) We discuss the evolutionary forces that may have been at play in the preservation of life from the RNA world to the present. We conjecture that the genes of the replicases (RNA-directed RNA polyrnerases) associated with putative non-pathogenic DNA-independent replicators of the RNA world may have been transferred vertically, eventually being preserved in some multicellular organisms as RNA replicators independent of DNA. We comment on the outstanding experimental questions that remain to be done, so as to test with new experiments the concept of the preservation of the RNA world relics.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: School of Theoretical Physics > Preprints
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2018 14:11
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2018 14:19
URI: http://dair.dias.ie/id/eprint/708

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