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J R Soc Interface. 2008 Aug 6;5(25):953-6. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2008.0085.

How much of protein sequence space has been explored by life on Earth?

Author information

  • 1School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh, The King's Buildings, Edinburgh EH9 3JJ, UK. david.dryden@ed.ac.uk

Abstract

We suggest that the vastness of protein sequence space is actually completely explorable during the populating of the Earth by life by considering upper and lower limits for the number of organisms, genome size, mutation rate and the number of functionally distinct classes of amino acids. We conclude that rather than life having explored only an infinitesimally small part of sequence space in the last 4 Gyr, it is instead quite plausible for all of functional protein sequence space to have been explored and that furthermore, at the molecular level, there is no role for contingency.

PMID:
18426772
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2459213
Free PMC Article
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