Kinetic Models of the Prebiotic Replication of dsRNA under Thermal Cycling Conditions

Pauline Schwartz, Dante Lepore, Carl Barratt


We present computational models for the replication of double stranded RNA (dsRNA) or related macromolecules under thermal cycling conditions that would reflect prebiotic (i.e. non-enzymatic) environments. Two models of the replication of dsRNA are represented as multi-step chemical systems. The objective of this investigation was to better understand the kinetic features of such chemical systems. It is shown that thermal cycling in a chemical system is advantageous (relative to a fixed temperature) if there are two competing reactions, one favored at high temperature and one favored at low temperature. For the prebiotic replication of dsRNA, a high temperature favors formation of the two single stranded RNA (ssRNA) templates and a presumptive catalysis or catalytic surface is active at low temperature at which the ssRNA template is copied. Our models may facilitate understanding possible prebiotic conditions for the replication of dsRNA.

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International Journal of Chemistry   ISSN 1916-9698 (Print)   ISSN 1916-9701 (Online)

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