RNA



PERSPECTIVES

The scene of a frozen accident


ANDREW D.  ELLINGTON a1c1, MAKSIM  KHRAPOV a1 and CHAD A.  SHAW a2
a1 Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712, USA
a2 Department of Statistics, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77251-1892, USA

Abstract

It has been suggested that in vitro selection experiments can provide information not only on what might have occurred during the evolution of the RNA world, but can in fact yield insights into particular features of the RNA world. In particular, it has been suggested that the sequences of anti-amino acid aptamers can provide clues to the origin of the genetic code, and that there is a statistically significant association between motifs found in aptamers and codons. We argue that the suggested connections between modern motifs and ancient sequences are logically tenuous, and show that there is no statistically meaningful association between motifs found in aptamers and codons.


Key Words: aptamer; codon; genetic code; in vitro selection; SELEX; translation.

Correspondence:
c1 Reprint requests to: Andrew D. Ellington, University of Texas, Austin, ICMB A4800/MBB 3.424, 26th and Speedway, Austin, Texas 78712, USA; e-mail: andy.ellington@mail.utexas.edu.