The nature of the last universal common ancestor

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 1999 Dec;9(6):672-7. doi: 10.1016/s0959-437x(99)00020-9.


Cytologically, prokaryotes appear simpler and thus evolutionarily 'older' than eukaryotes. In terms of RNA processing, however, prokaryotes are sophisticated and eukaryotes, which retain many features of an RNA-world, appear primitive. The last universal common ancestor may have been mesophilic and could have had many features of the eukaryote genome, but its cytology is unknown.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Eukaryotic Cells / metabolism*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genes / genetics
  • Genes / physiology
  • Genome
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Phylogeny*
  • Prokaryotic Cells / metabolism
  • RNA / genetics
  • RNA / metabolism
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Temperature


  • RNA