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If a ribosome is made of protein, yet is used in protein sysnthesis, what created the first ribosome?

What created the ribosomal RNA?

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  • $\begingroup$ This question has been asked before in several variations and has several detailed answers as I recall. I’m away at the moment with only my phone. Perhaps someone else could look up the actual question to mark it a duplicate. $\endgroup$ – David Jan 18 at 15:07
  • $\begingroup$ @David yes, there are similar questions about DNA and DNA polymerase and ATP synthase. I didn't mark this as a dupe of them because it could be argued that ribosomes are different. However, we can mark all subsequent questions on this topic as a dupe of this one or the others $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG Jan 19 at 10:38
  • $\begingroup$ @WYSIWYG I’ll have a look when I get back this weekend. It would be good to have one or two definitive questions (the ribosome may require its own) with a selection of comprehensive answers. I have my own contributions to make, but would rather do so in a coordinated manner. Perhaps the way to handle it would be on meta. $\endgroup$ – David Jan 19 at 13:09
  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of Was there originally a non-ribosomal way of synthesizing proteins? $\endgroup$ – David Jan 20 at 22:23
  • $\begingroup$ @WYSIWYG — Found the previous question — almost exact duplicate. $\endgroup$ – David Jan 20 at 22:25
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This is one of the "chichen and the egg" quesitons about early origins of life. The answer is: we don't know. There is a RNA world hypothesis which suggests that RNAs were the primary versatile biomolecules before proteins. This idea stems from the fact that there are self-replicating RNAs and ribozymes (RNA-based enzymes). Also, the fact that the catalytic center (peptidyl transferase) of the ribosome is RNA, is also used in support of the the RNA world. However, this is still an idea and we cannot conclusively say that an RNA-world existed.

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  • $\begingroup$ As the question is clearly a duplicate you might wish to migrate your answer to the original. I am considering writing a second answer (I already included a devil's advocate one) because I do not feel the current RNA world answer there is adequate. $\endgroup$ – David Jan 20 at 22:27

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