home   genetic news   bioinformatics   biotechnology   literature   journals   ethics   positions   events   sitemap
  HUM-MOLGEN -> Genetic News | search  

Evolution Discounts Errors

  September, 7 2005 4:11
your information resource in human molecular genetics
Research in the September issue of Nature Genetics may shed new light on one of the key hurdles associated with the development of life on Earth -- how to evolve genetic complexity.

One of the problems with the theory that living cells evolved from replicating molecules comes from the inherent imperfection of the copying process. Larger and more complicated molecules might be capable of preventing or correcting their mistakes (mutations), but then the target to be copied is larger too, increasing the chance of mutations. This dilemma, called an "error threshold" was thought to present a lethal block to the evolution of complex molecules.

Eors Szathmáry and colleagues have calculated that many mutations may not after all be lethal to real replicators. They examined the effects of real mutations (copying mistakes) on the predicted structure of real RNA enzymes, called ribozymes, and found that many mutations are likely to have no effect, or even to cancel out the damage caused by other mutations. This reprieve from "mutational meltdown" is enough to allow a genome size of seven thousand bases or RNA "letters", which is big enough to allow the survival of a minimal genome in the RNA world. The idea of an error threshold is still of great interest as a way to battle viruses today by using drugs to drive the virus's copying process beyond the level of mistakes it can tolerate.

Author contact:

Eors Szathmary (Collegium Budapest, Institute for Advanced Study, Hungary)
E-mail: szathmary@colbud.hu

Additional contact for comment on paper:

Edward C. Holmes (Penn State University, University Park, PA, USA)
E-mail: ech15@psu.edu

For abstract, click here.

(C) Nature Genetics press release.

Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza

print this article mail this article
Latest News
Variants Associated with Pediatric Allergic Disorder

Mutations in PHF6 Found in T-Cell Leukemia

Genetic Risk Variant for Urinary Bladder Cancer

Antibody Has Therapeutic Effect on Mice with ALS

Regulating P53 Activity in Cancer Cells

Anti-RNA Therapy Counters Breast Cancer Spread

Mitochondrial DNA Diversity

The Power of RNA Sequencing

‘Pro-Ageing' Therapy for Cancer?

Niche Genetics Influence Leukaemia

Molecular Biology: Clinical Promise for RNA Interference

Chemoprevention Cocktail for Colon Cancer

more news ...

Generated by News Editor 2.0 by Kai Garlipp
WWW: Kai Garlipp, Frank S. Zollmann.
7.0 © 1995-2023 HUM-MOLGEN. All rights reserved. Liability, Copyright and Imprint.