Preprint A324/2004
Rational curves of minimal degree and characterizations of ${\mathbb P}^n$

Carolina Araujo

**Keywords: **

In this paper we investigate complex uniruled varieties $X$ whose rational curves of minimal degree satisfy a special property. Namely, we assume that the tangent directions to such curves at a general point $x\in X$ form a linear subspace of $T_xX$. As an application of our main result, we give a unified geometric proof of Mori's, Wahl's, Campana-Peternell's and Andreatta-Wi\'sniewski's characterizations of ${\mathbb P}^n$.