The Virtual Circular Genome Model for Primordial RNA Replication

25 August 2020, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Our manuscript describes a hypothesis for the replication of primordial RNA genomes by entirely nonenzymatic processes. Our proposal circumvents long standing problems such as the difficulty of copying long templates by nonenzymatic chemistry, the need for defined primers, and the so-called ‘last base addition problem’. Our hypothesis leads to surprising predictions, notably that the replication of an ensemble of oligonucleotides could be mediated by the template-directed extension of all oligos by as little as one nucleotide, on average. We propose experimental tests of our model, and discuss its implications for the origin of life.


origin of life
nonenzymatic replication


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