tRNAs are key elements in the evolution of early life-forms. A team from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) has shown that slight alterations in transfer-RNA molecules (tRNAs) allow them to self-assemble into a functional unit that can replicate information exponentially.
They have shown that minor modifications in the structures of modern tRNA molecules permit them to autonomously interact to form a kind of replication module, which is capable of exponentially replicating information. This finding implies that tRNAs — the key intermediaries between transcription and translation in modern cells — could also have been the crucial link between replication and translation in the earliest living systems. It could therefore provide a neat solution to the question of which came first — genetic information or proteins?
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