Organism Sets Mutation Speed Record, May Explain Life's Origins

An uber-primitive plant pathogen made from naked strands of genetic material mutates faster than any other known organism — and it might just illuminate the origins of life.
Called hammerhead viroids, their mutation rates are orders of magnitude more rapid than those of viruses, the next-most-primitive organisms, which are orders of magnitude more rapid than lowly bacteria.
In less academic terms, the hammerhead viroid blueprint of life is being constantly redrawn.
Such accelerated mutation could have been useful four billion years ago, after a few quirky chemicals assembled into ribonucleic acid, or RNA — DNA's single-stranded article

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