Chem Rec. 2005; 5(2):107-18 (ISSN: 1527-8999)
Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Nara Women's University, Kita-uoya-nishi-machi, Nara, Nara 630-8506, Japan. email@example.com
Based on the fact that RNA has not only a genetic function but also a catalytic function, the RNA world theory on the origin of life was first proposed about 20 years ago. The theory assumes that RNA was amplified by self-replication to increase RNA diversity on the primitive earth. Since then, the theory has been widely accepted as the most likely explanation for the emergence of life. In contrast, we reached another hypothesis, the [GADV]-protein world hypothesis, which is based on pseudo-replication of [GADV]-proteins. We reached this hypothesis during studies on the origins of genes and the genetic code, where [G], [A], [D], and [V] refer to Gly, Ala, Asp, and Val, respectively. In this review, possible steps to the emergence of life are discussed from the standpoint of the [GADV]-protein world hypothesis, comparing it in parallel with the RNA world theory. It is also shown that [GADV]-peptides, which were produced by repeated dry-heating cycles and by solid phase peptide synthesis, have catalytic activities, hydrolyzing peptide bonds in a natural protein, bovine serum albumin. These experimental results support the [GADV]-protein world hypothesis for the origin of life."