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The Evolution of the Ribosome and the Genetic Code

Earth, Atmosphere, and Planetary Science Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
BioMedical Engineering, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Life 2014, 4(2), 227-249;
Received: 30 January 2014 / Revised: 23 April 2014 / Accepted: 25 April 2014 / Published: 20 May 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Origins and Early Evolution of RNA)
PDF [709 KB, uploaded 20 May 2014]


The evolution of the genetic code is mapped out starting with the aminoacyl tRNA-synthetases and their interaction with the operational code in the tRNA acceptor arm. Combining this operational code with a metric based on the biosynthesis of amino acids from the Citric acid, we come to the conclusion that the earliest genetic code was a Guanine Cytosine (GC) code. This has implications for the likely earliest positively charged amino acids. The progression from this pure GC code to the extant one is traced out in the evolution of the Large Ribosomal Subunit, LSU, and its proteins; in particular those associated with the Peptidyl Transfer Center (PTC) and the nascent peptide exit tunnel. This progression has implications for the earliest encoded peptides and their evolutionary progression into full complex proteins. View Full-Text
Keywords: Genetic Code; evolutions; ribosomal proteins Genetic Code; evolutions; ribosomal proteins

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Hartman, H.; Smith, T.F. The Evolution of the Ribosome and the Genetic Code. Life 2014, 4, 227-249.

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