Exceptional error minimization in putative primordial genetic codes

Date
Authors
Novozhilov, Artem S.
Koonin, Eugene V.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
Abstract
Description
We investigated the error-minimization properties of putative primordial codes that consisted of 16 supercodons, with the third base being completely redundant, using a previously derived cost function and the error minimization percentage as the measure of a code's robustness to mistranslation. It is shown that, when the 16-supercodon table is populated with 10 putative primordial amino acids, inferred from the results of abiotic synthesis experiments and other evidence independent of the code evolution, and with minimal assumptions used to assign the remaining supercodons, the resulting 2-letter codes are nearly optimal in terms of the error minimization level. The results of the computational experiments with putative primordial genetic codes that contained only two meaningful letters in all codons and encoded 10 to 16 amino acids indicate that such codes are likely to have been nearly optimal with respect to the minimization of translation errors. This near-optimality could be the outcome of extensive early selection during the co-evolution of the code with the primordial, error-prone translation system, or a result of a unique, accidental event. Under this hypothesis, the subsequent expansion of the code resulted in a decrease of the error minimization level that became sustainable owing to the evolution of a high-fidelity translation system.
Comment: 18 pages, 12 figures, submitted to Biology Direct
Keywords
Quantitative Biology - Genomics, Quantitative Biology - Populations and Evolution
Citation
Collections