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Life's OriginThe Beginnings of Biological Evolution$
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J.William Schopf

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520233904

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520233904.001.0001

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From Building Blocks to the Polymers of Life

From Building Blocks to the Polymers of Life

Chapter:
(p.113) Chapter 4 From Building Blocks to the Polymers of Life
Source:
Life's Origin
Author(s):

James P. Ferris

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520233904.003.0005

This chapter offers an origin-of-life scenario that requires the prebiotic synthesis of biopolymers. Scientists suggest that that RNA was the most important biopolymer in early (but not necessarily the first) life on Earth. In this chapter, the possible steps in prebiotic RNA synthesis are examined. Of the various routes thus far explored, RNA synthesis by polymerization of activated monomers has proved the most successful. The chapter also describes the prebiotic synthesis of amino acid polymers or polypeptides. The most productive route to the prebiotic formation of polypeptides in aqueous solution is by means of the N-carboxyanhydride derivatives of their component amino acids.

Keywords:   prebiotic synthesis, biopolymers, RNA, polymerization, amino acid polymers, polypeptides

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