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Phys Life Rev. 2012 Sep;9(3):219-63. doi: 10.1016/j.plrev.2012.06.001. Epub 2012 Jun 13.

Evolutionary dynamics of RNA-like replicator systems: A bioinformatic approach to the origin of life.

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National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, 8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20894, USA.


We review computational studies on prebiotic evolution, focusing on informatic processes in RNA-like replicator systems. In particular, we consider the following processes: the maintenance of information by replicators with and without interactions, the acquisition of information by replicators having a complex genotype-phenotype map, the generation of information by replicators having a complex genotype-phenotype-interaction map, and the storage of information by replicators serving as dedicated templates. Focusing on these informatic aspects, we review studies on quasi-species, error threshold, RNA-folding genotype-phenotype map, hypercycle, multilevel selection (including spatial self-organization, classical group selection, and compartmentalization), and the origin of DNA-like replicators. In conclusion, we pose a future question for theoretical studies on the origin of life.

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