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J Theor Biol. 2013 Oct 21;335:245-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2013.06.033. Epub 2013 Jul 17.

Suggested phylogeny of tRNAs based on the construction of ancestral sequences.

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Universidade Federal da Paraíba, Centro de Ciências exatas e da Natureza, Departamento de Biologia Molecular, Laboratório de Genética Evolutiva Paulo Leminsk. João Pessoa, Paraíba, Brazil.


The origin and evolution of life on the planet is one of the most intriguing challenges in life sciences and, for some researchers, it is centered in the origin of the genetic code. Many hypotheses about the origin and evolution of tRNA have been proposed and in this work a new suggestion is proposed based on the reconstruction of tRNA ancestor sequences. Ancestral sequences of 22 types of tRNA molecules were built by maximum likelihood from 9758 sequences currently reported from different organisms. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the main force for evolutionary diversification of tRNA molecules was a change in the second base of the anticodon. The data revealed that diversification is not correlated with the characteristic of the specified amino acid, indicating that the correlation between tRNA and amino acid was given indirectly, and possibly should have been mediated by proto-aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases.


Genetic code; Origin of life; tRNA evolution

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