Gene hypothesis of the origin of life
The Gene hypothesis of the origin of life assumes that the original structure that was already capable of biological evolution could have been a nucleic acid or a chemically similar substance (Kolb, Dworkin, & Miller 1994; Miller 1997; Nelson, Levy, & Miller 2000; Orgel 2000). This nucleic acid apparently did not originally have any metabolic activity and also did not have any information for synthesis of proteins or other compounds, but was capable of self-replication under suitable conditions. The best-known variant of the gene hypothesis of the origin of life assumes that the original polymer was RNA (Hirao & Ellington 1995; James & Ellington 1995; Hager, Pollard, & Szostak 1996). Consequently, this hypothesis is frequently termed the RNA world hypothesis (Gilbert 1986).