Synthetic evolving systems that implement a user-specified genetic code of arbitrary design.
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A synthetic genetic system, based on cross-replicating RNA enzymes, provides a means to evaluate alternative genetic codes that relate heritable information to corresponding molecular function. A special implementation of encoded combinatorial chemistry was used to construct complex populations of cross-replicating RNA enzymes in accordance with a user-specified code that relates genotype and phenotype on a molecule-by-molecule basis. The replicating enzymes were made to undergo self-sustained Darwinian evolution, resulting in the emergence of the most advantageous variants. These included both highly active enzymes that sustained the population as a whole and poorly active enzymes that survived as parasites of the active molecules. This evolutionary outcome was a consequence of the information capacity and fidelity of the genetic code, suggesting how these parameters should be adjusted to implement codes tailored to particular applications.
author list (cited authors)
Sczepanski, J. T., & Joyce, G. F.
complete list of authors
Sczepanski, Jonathan T||Joyce, Gerald F