The Uroboros Theory of Life’s Origin: 22-Nucleotide Theoretical Minimal RNA Rings Reflect Evolution of Genetic Code and tRNA-rRNA Translation Machineries

Acta Biotheoretica 67 (4):273-297 (2019)
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Abstract

Theoretical minimal RNA rings attempt to mimick life’s primitive RNAs. At most 25 22-nucleotide-long RNA rings code once for each biotic amino acid, a start and a stop codon and form a stem-loop hairpin, resembling consensus tRNAs. We calculated, for each RNA ring’s 22 potential splicing positions, similarities of predicted secondary structures with tRNA vs. rRNA secondary structures. Assuming rRNAs partly derived from tRNA accretions, we predict positive associations between relative secondary structure similarities with rRNAs over tRNAs and genetic code integration orders of RNA ring anticodon cognate amino acids. Analyses consider for each secondary structure all nucleotide triplets as potential anticodon. Anticodons for ancient, chemically inert cognate amino acids are most frequent in the 25 RNA rings. For RNA rings with primordial cognate amino acids according to tRNA-homology-derived anticodons, tRNA-homology and coding sequences coincide, these are separate for predicted cognate amino acids that presumably integrated late the genetic code. RNA ring secondary structure similarity with rRNA over tRNA secondary structures associates best with genetic code integration orders of anticodon cognate amino acids when assuming split anticodons, and at predicted anticodon location in the spliced RNA ring’s midst. Results confirm RNA ring homologies with tRNAs and CDs, ancestral status of tRNA half genes split at anticodons, the tRNA-rRNA axis of RNA evolution, and that single theoretical minimal RNA rings potentially produce near-complete proto-tRNA sets. Hence genetic code pre-existence determines 25 short circular gene- and tRNA-like RNAs. Accounting for each potential splicing position, each RNA ring potentially translates most amino acids, realistically mimicks evolution of the tRNA-rRNA translation machinery. These RNA rings ‘of creation’ remind the uroboros’ symbolism for creative regeneration.

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