RNA



PERSPECTIVES

Guilt by association: The arginine case revisited


ROBIN D.  KNIGHT a1 and LAURA F.  LANDWEBER a1c1
a1 Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544-1003, USA

Abstract

If the genetic code arose in an RNA world, present codon assignments may reflect primordial RNA–amino acid affinities. Whether aptamers selected from random pools to bind free amino acids do so using the cognate codons at their binding sites has been controversial. Here we defend and extend our previous analysis of arginine binding sites, and propose a model for the maintenance of codon–amino acid interactions through the evolution of amino acids from ribozyme cofactors into the building blocks of proteins.


Key Words: aptamer; chemical evolution; genetic code; RNA world; SELEX.

Correspondence:
c1 Reprint requests to: Laura F. Landweber, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544-1003, USA; e-mail: lfl@princeton.edu.