On the evolution of primitive genetic codes

Günter Weberndorfer, Ivo Hofacker, Peter Stadler

Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelPeer Reviewed


The primordial genetic code probably has been a drastically simplified ancestor of the canonical code that is used by contemporary cells. In order to understand how the present-day code came about we first need to explain how the language of the building plan can change without destroying the encoded information. In this work we introduce a minimal organism model that is based on biophysically reasonable descriptions of RNA and protein, namely secondary structure folding and knowledge based potentials. The evolution of a population of such organism under competition for a common resource is simulated explicitly at the level of individual replication events. Starting with very simple codes, and hence greatly reduced amino acid alphabets, we observe a diversification of the codes in most simulation runs. The driving force behind this effect is the possibility to produce fitter proteins when the repertoire of amino acids is enlarged.
Seiten (von - bis)491-514
FachzeitschriftOrigins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2003

ÖFOS 2012

  • 1040 Chemie