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RNA Biology

For an Article Collection on

The RNA World in the Origin of Life

Manuscript deadline
30 April 2024

Cover image - RNA Biology

Article collection guest advisor(s)

Dr. Wentao Ma, Wuhan University
[email protected]

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The RNA World in the Origin of Life

The RNA World hypothesis proposes that RNA acted as both genetic material and functional molecules in a primordial stage of life, possibly at the very beginning. The hypothesis was suggested to resolve the “Chicken and Egg” dilemma in the field – which came first, DNA or proteins? Indeed, it seems quite unlikely that these two types of polymers, one for heredity and the other for functionality (with “information linkage” in between), could have emerged simultaneously at the start. In fact, two logic points underlie this suggestion: 1) genetic and functional features (which guarantee the ability to undergo Darwinian evolution) are essential for life; 2) the simpler, the more likely to have emerged de novo in the origin of life.

Due to its logical reasonability and accumulating evidence supporting the idea, the RNA World is now commonly regarded as a “model scenario” guiding investigations into the origin of life, both from experimental and theoretical aspects.

Undoubtedly, the origin of life was one of the most amazing events in nature, and it is now widely recognized that RNA likely played a central role in this “mystery process”. Here, on behalf of the editorial team, we invite authors to submit manuscripts to an Article Collection entitled “The RNA World in the Origin of Life”. This Article Collection welcomes Original Research Articles, Reviews, and Commentaries and Views.

The potential topics considered within this Collection include, but not limited to:

  1. The prebiotic pathway toward the RNA World (prebiotic chemistry).
  2. Experimental work concerning potential ribozymes in the RNA World.
  3. Experimental studies on the physical/chemical features of RNA-based protocells.
  4. Computer simulation on the evolutionary dynamics regarding the emerge or the evolution of RNA-based protocells.
  5. Computer simulations on the pathway from the RNA World to the DNA/RNA/proteins World.
  6. Bioinformatic evidence concerning relics of the RNA world in modern cells.

Dr. Wentao Ma obtained his Ph.D. degree in 2002 from Wuhan University in China and currently serves as an associated professor in the College of Life Sciences at the same institution. His research interests revolve around the essence of life and the origin of life on Earth. He conducts his studies primarily through computer simulation.

Disclosure Statement: Dr. Ma declares no conflict of interest regarding this work.

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All manuscripts submitted to this Article Collection will undergo desk assessment and peer-review as part of our standard editorial process. Guest Advisors for this collection will not be involved in peer-reviewing manuscripts unless they are an existing member of the Editorial Board. Please review the journal Aims and Scope and author submission instructions prior to submitting a manuscript.