DOI: 10.1101/515767Jan 9, 2019Paper

The origin of the central dogma through conflicting multilevel selection

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Nobuto Takeuchi, Kunihiko Kaneko


The central dogma of molecular biology rests on two kinds of asymmetry between genomes and enzymes: informatic asymmetry, where information flows from genomes to enzymes but not from enzymes to genomes; and catalytic asymmetry, where enzymes provide chemical catalysis but genomes do not. How did these asymmetries originate? Here we show that these asymmetries can spontaneously arise from conflict between selection at the molecular level and selection at the cellular level. We developed a model consisting of a population of protocells, each containing a population of replicating catalytic molecules. The molecules are assumed to face a trade-off between serving as catalysts and serving as templates. This trade-off causes conflicting multilevel selection: serving as catalysts is favoured by selection between protocells, whereas serving as templates is favoured by selection between molecules within protocells. This conflict induces informatic and catalytic symmetry breaking, whereby the molecules differentiate into genomes and enzymes, establishing the central dogma. We show mathematically that the symmetry breaking is caused by a positive feedback between Fisher's reproductive values and the relative impact of selection at differe...Continue Reading

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