, Volume 68, Issue 6, pp 282-292

First online:

Transfer-RNA, an early gene?

  • Manfred EigenAffiliated withMax-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie
  • , Ruthild Winkler-OswatitschAffiliated withMax-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie

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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.