Amino acid-directed nucleic acid synthesis - A Possible Mechamism in the Origin of Life

Gary L. Nelsestuen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

The fact that proteins contain only a-amino acids and that protein structure is determined by 3′ → 5′ linked ribonucleotides is postulated to be the result of the copolymerization of these molecules in the prebiotic environment. Ribonucleotides therefore represent partial degradation products and proteins represent a side reaction developing from copolymerization. The basic structural unit of copolymerization is a nucleotide substituted with an amino acid at the 2′ position. Characteristics of modern amino and ribonucleic acid structure are all consistent with and necessary for this hypothesis. The characteristics and individual base assignments of the code also provide strong support for origin from the postulated copolymers. All characteristics of the code can be accounted for by this single hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-120
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Molecular Evolution
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 1978

Keywords

  • Evolution
  • Genetic code
  • Origin of Life
  • Prebiotic reactions
  • Protein synthesis

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