We argue for the existence of an RNA sequence, called the AL (for ALpha) sequence, which may have played a role at the origin of life; this role entailed the AL sequence helping generate the first peptide assemblies via a primitive network. These peptide assemblies included “infinite” proteins. The AL sequence was constructed on an economy principle as the smallest RNA ring having one representative of each codon’s synonymy class and capable of adopting a non-functional but nevertheless evolutionarily stable hairpin form that resisted denaturation due to environmental changes in pH, hydration, temperature, etc. Long subsequences from the AL ring resemble sequences from tRNAs and 5S rRNAs of numerous species like the proteobacterium, Rhodobacter sphaeroides
. Pentameric subsequences from the AL are present more frequently than expected in current genomes, in particular, in genes encoding some of the proteins associated with ribosomes like tRNA synthetases. Such relics may help explain the existence of universal sequences like exon/intron frontier regions, Shine-Dalgarno sequence (present in bacterial and archaeal mRNAs), CRISPR and mitochondrial loop sequences.
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