, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 465-474

The origin of polynucleotide-directed protein synthesis

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If protein synthesis evolved in an RNA world it was probably preceded by simpler processes by means of which interaction with amino acids conferred selective advantage on replicating RNA molecules. It is suggested that, at first, the simple attachment of amino acids to the 2′(3′)-termini of RNA templates favored initiation of replication at the end of the template rather than at internal positions. The second stage in the evolution of protein synthesis would probably have been the association of pairs of charged RNA adaptors in such a way as to favor noncoded formation of peptides. Only after this process had become efficient could coded synthesis have begun.