Selection for optimal accuracy and the evolution of ageing



The processing of genetic information is fundamental to every aspect of life. Thus it is obvious that natural selection acts as much upon the accuracy of macromolecular synthesis as on any other trait. The outcome of this selection is readily apparent in the range of mechanisms which co-operate to produce the high fidelity of synthesis of DNA, RNA and proteins that is found in present-day species. Primitive organisms presumably lacked these mechanisms and were, therefore, far less accurate. In this chapter, we discuss whether the accuracy of synthesis of macromolecules is, in some sense, optimal, or merely the best which has so far been achieved. We also consider selection for the stability of translation, as well as its accuracy (see Chapter 2). We conclude that there is strong support for the view that both accuracy and translational stability have been optimized, and we explore their relationship to the evolution of ageing in higher organisms (see also Kirkwood, 1977; Kirkwood and Holliday, 1979).


Natural Selection Cellular Ageing Pyrimidine Dimer Optimal Accuracy Macromolecular Synthesis 
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© Chapman and Hall 1986

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