Humanos e extraterrestres podem partilhar das mesmas raízes de DNA

quarta-feira, abril 08, 2009

A thermodynamic basis for prebiotic amino acid synthesis and the nature of the first genetic code

Paul G. Higgs, Ralph E. Pudritz
(Submitted on 2 Apr 2009)

Of the twenty amino acids used in proteins, ten were formed in Miller's atmospheric discharge experiments. The two other major proposed sources of prebiotic amino acid synthesis include formation in hydrothermal vents and delivery to Earth via meteorites. We combine observational and experimental data of amino acid frequencies formed by these diverse mechanisms and show that, regardless of the source, these ten early amino acids can be ranked in order of decreasing abundance in prebiotic contexts. This order can be predicted by thermodynamics. The relative abundances of the early amino acids were most likely reflected in the composition of the first proteins at the time the genetic code originated. The remaining amino acids were incorporated into proteins after pathways for their biochemical synthesis evolved. This is consistent with theories of the evolution of the genetic code by stepwise addition of new amino acids. These are hints that key aspects of early biochemistry may be universal.


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Não são 22 os aminoácidos?