Evolutionary implication of genetic code deviations

Acta Biotheoretica 37 (3-4):267-279 (1988)


We formulate the following hypothesis: Life's origin may have occurred during the lower Archaean at a time when the environmental temperature was higher than it is at present. Preliminary consequences of this hypothesis are studied from the point of view of molecular evolution. We restrict our attention to implications regarding the genetic code. We conclude that alternative assignment of termination codons may be understood in terms of: (a) the elevated temperatures to which the progenote may initially have been exposed; and (b) the subsequent response of its genome to the opportunity provided by the eventual loss of hyperthermal genetic expression during a thermal transition (TT) period, which was triggered off by the evolution of the dynamic Earth.

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