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ABIOtic Synthesis of RNA: an investigation on how life started before biology existed

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 ABIOS project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the ABIOS project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "ABIOS" about.

enhanced    rationalize    forms    overcoming    stability    scientists    synthesize    suggest    precursors    abiotic    backbone    comprehension    critical    bond    edge    laboratory    quantum    algorithms    forcefield    outcomes    catalysts    chemical    probably    sugars    rna    biopolymers    linkages    thermally    molecular    questions    despite    simulations    alternative    silico    origin    basis    tolerance    improvements    fascinating    emergence    setup    reveal    self    polymers    computational    obstacles    genetic    atom    life    model    combining    cutting    dilute    sampling    largely    improvement    original    acid    efficient    mechanism    difficult    thermophoresis    incorporated    machineries    linking    accumulation    catalysis    orthogonal    employed    biological    synthesis    significantly    poorly    techniques    storage    progress    ribonucleic    phosphoester    calculations    sciences    monomers    unsolved    ranging    technological    disciplines    understand    natural    bio    bonds   

Project "ABIOS" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: RUE MICHEL ANGE 3
city: PARIS
postcode: 75794

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country France [FR]
 Total cost 1˙497˙031 €
 EC max contribution 1˙497˙031 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2017-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2018
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2018-02-01   to  2023-01-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

The emergence of life is one of the most fascinating and yet largely unsolved questions in the natural sciences, and thus a significant challenge for scientists from many disciplines. There is growing evidence that ribonucleic acid (RNA) polymers, which are capable of genetic information storage and self-catalysis, were involved in the early forms of life. But despite recent progress, RNA synthesis without biological machineries is very challenging. The current project aims at understanding how to synthesize RNA in abiotic conditions. I will solve problems associated with three critical aspects of RNA formation that I will rationalize at a molecular level: (i) accumulation of precursors, (ii) formation of a chemical bond between RNA monomers, and (iii) tolerance for alternative backbone sugars or linkages. Because I will study problems ranging from the formation of chemical bonds up to the stability of large biopolymers, I propose an original computational multi-scale approach combining techniques that range from quantum calculations to large-scale all-atom simulations, employed together with efficient enhanced-sampling algorithms, forcefield improvement, cutting-edge analysis methods and model development. My objectives are the following: 1 • To explain why the poorly-understood thermally-driven process of thermophoresis can contribute to the accumulation of dilute precursors. 2 • To understand why linking RNA monomers with phosphoester bonds is so difficult, to understand the molecular mechanism of possible catalysts and to suggest key improvements. 3 • To rationalize the molecular basis for RNA tolerance for alternative backbone sugars or linkages that have probably been incorporated in abiotic conditions. This unique in-silico laboratory setup should significantly impact our comprehension of life’s origin by overcoming major obstacles to RNA abiotic formation, and in addition will reveal significant orthogonal outcomes for (bio)technological applications.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Damien Laage, Guillaume Stirnemann
Effect of Ions on Water Dynamics in Dilute and Concentrated Aqueous Salt Solutions
published pages: 3312-3324, ISSN: 1520-6106, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.9b01053
The Journal of Physical Chemistry B 123/15 2019-09-26

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The information about "ABIOS" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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