, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 389-397

A speculation on the origin of protein synthesis

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Abstract

It is suggested that protein synthesis may have begun without even a primitive ribosome if the primitive tRNA could take up two configurations and could bind to the messenger RNA with five base-pairs instead of the present three. This idea would impose base sequence restriction on the early messages and on the early genetic code such that the first four amino acids coded were glycine, serine, aspartic acid and aspargine. A possible mechanism is suggested for the polymerization of the early message.

This paper is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Aharon Katzir.