Diversity, stability, and evolvability in models of early evolution

István Scheuring, András Szilágyi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Based on the RNA world hypothesis, we outline a possible evolutionary route from infrabiological systems to early protocells. To assess the scientific merits of the different models of prebiotic evolution and to suggest directions for future research, we investigate the diversity-maintaining ability, evolutionary/ecological stability, and evolvability criteria of existing RNA world model systems for the origin of life. We conclude that neither of the studied systems satisfies all of the aforementioned criteria, although some of them are more convincing than the others. Furthermore, we found that the most conspicuous features of the proposed prebiotic evolutionary scenarios are their increasing spatial inhomogeneity along with increasing plasticity, evolvability, and functional diversity. All of these characteristics change abruptly with the emergence of the protocells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-121
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Systems Biology
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • Coexistence
  • Diversity-maintaining mechanisms
  • Early evolution
  • Ecological stability
  • Evolutionary stability
  • Evolvability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Drug Discovery
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Diversity, stability, and evolvability in models of early evolution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this