Evolution and RNA Relics. A Systems Biology View

Acta Biotheoretica 56 (1-2):5-25 (2008)
The genetic code has evolved from its initial non-degenerate wobble version until reaching its present state of degeneracy. By using the stereochemical hypothesis, we revisit the problem of codon assignations to the synonymy classes of amino-acids. We obtain these classes with a simple classifier based on physico-chemical properties of nucleic bases, like hydrophobicity and molecular weight. Then we propose simple RNA ring structures that present, overlap included, one and only one codon by synonymy class as solutions of a combinatory variational problem. We compare these solutions to sequences of present RNAs considered as relics, with a high interspecific invariance, like invariant parts of tRNAs and micro-RNAs. We conclude by emphasizing some optimal properties of the genetic code
Keywords Philosophy   Evolutionary Biology   Philosophy of Biology
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DOI 10.1007/s10441-008-9028-y
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