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Life 2017, 7(2), 13; doi:10.3390/life7020013

The Genetic Code and RNA-Amino Acid Affinities

Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0347, USA
Academic Editor: Koji Tamura
Received: 17 February 2017 / Revised: 16 March 2017 / Accepted: 17 March 2017 / Published: 23 March 2017
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Abstract

A significant part of the genetic code likely originated via a chemical interaction, which should be experimentally verifiable. One possible verification relates bound amino acids (or perhaps their activated congeners) and ribonucleotide sequences within cognate RNA binding sites. To introduce this interaction, I first summarize how amino acids function as targets for RNA binding. Then the experimental method for selecting relevant RNA binding sites is characterized. The selection method’s characteristics are related to the investigation of the RNA binding site model treated at the outset. Finally, real binding sites from selection and also from extant natural RNAs (for example, the Sulfobacillus guanidinium riboswitch) are connected to the genetic code, and by extension, to the evolutionary progression that produced the code. During this process, peptides may have been produced directly on an instructive amino acid binding RNA (a DRT; Direct RNA Template). Combination of observed stereochemical selectivity with adaptation and co-evolutionary refinement is logically required, and also potentially sufficient, to create the striking order conserved throughout the present coding table. View Full-Text
Keywords: binding; triplet; codon; anticodon; DRT binding; triplet; codon; anticodon; DRT
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Yarus, M. The Genetic Code and RNA-Amino Acid Affinities. Life 2017, 7, 13.

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