Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisorGrover, Martha
dc.contributor.authorHe, Christine Yi
dc.date.accessioned2018-05-31T18:07:54Z
dc.date.available2018-05-31T18:07:54Z
dc.date.created2017-05
dc.date.issued2017-02-14
dc.date.submittedMay 2017
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1853/59762
dc.description.abstractMany hypotheses concerning the nature of early life assume that genetic information was once transferred through the template-directed synthesis of RNA, prior to the evolution of genetically encoded protein synthesis. However, despite more than half a century of research into the chemical origins of nucleic acids, a robust route to the abiotic synthesis of nucleic acid polymers is unclear. In particular, identifying the earliest mechanism for enzyme-free replication of nucleic acids remains an elusive goal. A biophysical problem known as strand inhibition limits copying of a nucleic acid duplex: transferring information from a template sequence in the presence of its complementary strand is inhibited by the stability of the template duplex. Strand inhibition is a major bottleneck in understanding how sustained RNA replication evolved on the early Earth. In this thesis, I describe a robust, prebiotically plausible route to enzyme-free replication of nucleic acids, driven by hot/cool cycles in viscous environments. Viscous solvents enable kinetic trapping of a nucleic acid duplex as single strands, providing a time window for the assembly and ligation of oligonucleotide substrates on the single stranded templates. I have shown that viscous solvents can be utilized to overcome strand inhibition, enabling copying of a gene-length template duplex (>300 nt), a process which is highly unfavorable in aqueous conditions. Additionally, viscosity enables copying of an RNA duplex containing a hammerhead ribozyme motif, suggesting a potential route for the selection and amplification of catalytically active RNA on the prebiotic Earth.
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen_US
dc.publisherGeorgia Institute of Technology
dc.subjectViscosity
dc.subjectNucleic acid replication
dc.subjectRNA world
dc.subjectPrebiotic chemistry
dc.subjectChemical evolution
dc.subjectOrigins of life
dc.titleViscous solvents as an environment for nucleic acid replication
dc.typeDissertation
dc.description.degreePh.D.
dc.contributor.departmentChemical and Biomolecular Engineering
thesis.degree.levelDoctoral
dc.contributor.committeeMemberHud, Nicholas
dc.contributor.committeeMemberStyczynski, Mark
dc.contributor.committeeMemberLoren Williams
dc.contributor.committeeMemberHenderson, Clifford
dc.date.updated2018-05-31T18:07:54Z


Files in this item

Thumbnail

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record