Early chemical evolution of nucleic acids: a theoretical model

Science  15 Apr 1977:
Vol. 196, Issue 4287, pp. 311-313
DOI: 10.1126/science.583625


Recent experimental work suggests a possible cyclical pathway for early prebiotic oligonucleotide formation that involves (i) dry-state (nontemplate) synthesis of random copolymers with mixed 2',5' and 3',5' bonds, (ii) passage of these oligomers into solution at low temperatures, and (iii) a preferential hydrolysis of the 2',5' bond in any short helices that have formed. This early system could have selected for complementary sequences that were largely 3',5'-linked, but may not have selected efficiently for a single enantiomer of ribose.