PCR in the primordial soup

Robert Horton horton at molbio.cbs.umn.edu
Wed Aug 5 14:47:58 EST 1992

If viruses are "organisms" because they can pass on genetic information etc.,
how about PCR products ("amplicons")? They "parasitize" a very specialized
environment (PCRs), and require dNTPs, polymerase, etc as "food", but they
can mutate, compete and evolve. They require a heat-cycling environment, which
obviates the need for much of the enzymatic DNA replication machinery we
mono-temperature organisms require, and are probably close the the simplest
possible nucleic acid-using organism. Hypothesis to ponder: if amplicons are
the simplest "organism" today, could they be similar to the prototypical
nucleic-acid based organisms ("PCR in the primordial soup"-ala Old Faithful)
Bob Horton            /\ "Crash programs fail because of the theory that
U. of Minnesota, CBS  || with nine women pregnant you get a baby a month" 
1479 Gortner Ave.    /||\   -Werner von Braun.  Disclaimer:"Bob who?"
St. Paul, MN 55108    ^^   horton at molbio.cbs.umn.edu/(612) 624-3790

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