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Orig Life Evol Biosph. 1990;20(3-4):303-8.

Was there a universal tRNA before specialized tRNAs came into existence?

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Alabama, Birmingham 35294.


It is generally true that evolving systems begin simply and become more complex in the evolutionary process. For those who try to understand the origin of a biochemical system, what is required is the development of an idea as to what simpler system preceeded the present one. Here we present an hypothesis that a universal tRNA molecule, capable of reading many codons may have preceeded the appearance of individual tRNAs. Evidence seems to suggest that this molecule may have been derived from a common ancestor of the contemporary 5S rRNAs and tRNAs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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