Nov 21, 1988

Genetic code development by stop codon takeover

Journal of Theoretical Biology
N Lehman, T H Jukes

Abstract

A novel theoretical consideration of the origin and evolution of the genetic code is presented. Code development is viewed from the perspective of simultaneously evolving codons, anticodons and amino acids. Early code structure was determined primarily by thermodynamic stability considerations, requiring simplicity in primordial codes. More advanced coding stages could arise as biological systems became more complex and precise in their replication. To be consistent with these ideas, a model is described in which codons become permanently associated with amino acids only when a codon-anticodon pairing is strong enough to permit rapid translation. Hence all codons are essentially chain-termination or "stop" codons until tRNA adaptors evolve having the ability to bind tightly to them. This view, which draws support from several lines of evidence, differs from the prevalent thinking on code evolution which holds that codons specifying newer amino acids were derived from codons encoding older amino acids.

Mentioned in this Paper

Amino Acids, I.V. solution additive
MT-TA gene
Codon, Terminator
Triplet Codon-amino Acid Adaptor Activity
Transfer RNA
Sense Codon
Codon Genus
Codon (Nucleotide Sequence)
Poly(A) Tail
Anticodon

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