Encapsulation of ribozymes inside model protocells leads to faster evolutionary adaptation

Yei-Chen Lai, Ziwei Liu & Irene Chen
Functional biomolecules, such as RNA, encapsulated inside a protocellular membrane are believed to have comprised a very early, critical stage in the evolution of life, since membrane vesicles allow selective permeability and create a unit of selection enabling cooperative phenotypes. The biophysical environment inside a protocell would differ fundamentally from bulk solution, due to the microscopic confinement. However, the effect of the encapsulated environment on ribozyme evolution has not been previously studied experimentally. Here we...
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