Small enzyme-mimicking polymers may have helped start life

Most origins of life research is focused on understanding the prebiotic formation of biological building blocks. However, it is possible that early biological evolution relied on chemical compounds that are no longer used by modern biology. Recent research at ELSI has found that small highly branched polymers, which can be formed under the types of conditions thought common on primitive Earth, are capable of acting as catalysts similar to highly evolved modern biological enzymes.