Coenzymes as fossils of an earlier metabolic state

J Mol Evol. 1976 Mar 29;7(2):101-4. doi: 10.1007/BF01732468.


A metabolic system composed of nucleic acid enzymes is proposed to have existed prior to the evolution of ribosomal protein synthesis. Vestiges of these nucleic acid enzymes persist in contemporary coenzymes. This proposal rationalizes the fact that many coenzymes are nucleotides or heterocyclic bases which could be derived from nucleotides.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution
  • Coenzymes / metabolism*
  • DNA Replication
  • Fossils*
  • Genes
  • Paleontology*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Coenzymes