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Origin and Evolutionary Process of the Genetic Code

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The genetic code plots the relationship between a triplet base sequence on RNA and an amino acid that corresponds to a protein associated with a required function in organisms. Accurate knowledge about the genetic code, including its origin and evolutionary process, would be helpful for determining the causes of genetic disorders and discovering new medical treatments, as well as for understanding the origin of life. This review begins with discussion of several well-known theories on the origin of the genetic code. Then, a GNC-SNS primitive genetic code hypothesis, which we originally proposed, is explained in relation to the weak points of other theories. S and N denote G or C and any of the four bases, respectively. We also introduce our hypothesis of the GADV-protein world hypothesis on the origin of life, where GADV stands for the four amino acids, Gly[G], Ala[A], Asp[D] and Val[V]. Next, we discuss the reason why genetic disorders, which should be triggered by base replacements, are repressed at a low level under the universal genetic code. Finally, we explain the current difficulties we faced in treating genetic disorders, suggesting a prospect for a new type of treatments of these disorders.

Keywords: GADV hypothesis; Origin of genetic code; emergence of life; genetic disorders; medical treatment; mutation

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-12-01

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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