Dr Harold Bernhardt

Research Fellow
Harold Bernhardt3
  • Biochemistry Department
  • School of Biomedical Sciences
  • University of Otago
  • P.O. Box 56
  • 710 Cumberland St
  • Dunedin 9054 , New Zealand
  • Tel.: 64 3 479-7841
  • Fax: 64 3 479-7866
  • Email:harold.bernhardt@otago.ac.nz

My research focuses on the origin and early evolution of life, specifically in relation to the RNA world hypothesis, which proposes that RNA once played the dominant role in biological catalysis and replication. I have recently been awarded a Marsden Fast Start to study the possible prebiotic chemical evolution of RNA by spontaneous or non-enzymatic reactions.

Selected Publications

Harold S Bernhardt., Clues to tRNA Evolution from the Distribution of Class II tRNAs and Serine Codons in the Genetic Code., Life (Basel) 2016 vol. 6 (1) p. 10., Link »

Harold S Bernhardt and Warren P Tate., A Ribosome Without RNA., Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 2015 vol. 3 p. 95., Link »

Harold S Bernhardt., The Juxtaposition of Ribose Hydroxyl Groups: The Root of Biological Catalysis and the RNA World?, Orig Life Evol Biosph 2015, Link »

Harold S Bernhardt and Roger K Sandwick, Purine Biosynthetic Intermediate-Containing Ribose-Phosphate Polymers as Evolutionary Precursors to RNA., Journal of molecular evolution 2014, Link »

Harold S Bernhardt and Wayne M Patrick, Genetic code evolution started with the incorporation of glycine, followed by other small hydrophilic amino acids., Journal of molecular evolution 2014 vol. 78 (6) pp. 307-309, Link »

Harold S Bernhardt and Warren P Tate, Sequence and structure of naturally-occurring tRNA transcripts and site-directed variants are significant barriers to forming oligomers beyond dimers, Advances in Bioscience and Biotechnology 2013 vol. 04 (05) pp. 1-16, Link »

Harold S Bernhardt, The RNA world hypothesis: the worst theory of the early evolution of life (except for all the others)., Biology direct 2012 vol. 7 p. 23, Link »

Harold S Bernhardt and Warren P Tate, Primordial soup or vinaigrette: did the RNA world evolve at acidic pH?, Biology direct 2012 vol. 7 p. 4, Link »

The transition from noncoded to coded protein synthesis: did coding mRNAs arise from stability-enhancing binding partners to tRNA? Bernhardt HS, Tate WP. Biol Direct. 2010 Apr 9;5:16. doi: 10.1186/1745-6150-5-16.

Evidence from glycine transfer RNA of a frozen accident at the dawn of the genetic code. Bernhardt HS, Tate WP. Biol Direct. 2008 Dec 17;3:53. doi: 10.1186/1745-6150-3-53.