, Volume 68, Issue 6, pp 282-292

Transfer-RNA, an early gene?

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The theory of self-reproductive molecular systems involves the consequence that translation must have started from a selected distribution of RNA molecules, that comprised GC-rich sequences of a length < 100 nucleotides. This implies a joint function of messenger and adaptor, which both had to be recruited from the same mutant distribution. The reconstruction of tRNA precursors yields such a molecule showing some reverberation of a codon pattern GNC. These findings suggest that tRNA has been the earliest component of the translation machinery.

We are most indebted to W.C. Gardiner for many helpful suggestions and comments. D. Hellwig kindly assisted us in the evaluation of data by providing us with suitable computer programs.