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Selfish ribosome model
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1/7/2015 5:02:12 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
A great read. I just love it when simple basic questions cause someone to think of something in an entirely new way, flipping conventional thinking on the head. Findings add little to RNA theory start to life.
"Halfway through the book, inspired by the discovery strategies my father discusses there, I looked up and asked "what does DNA want?" It may sound strange to anthropomorphize a large molecule. However, the selfish gene theory is commonly expressed in a scientific short-hand as "DNA wants to replicate itself." But I wondered if this is really what DNA wants," Dr. Meredith explains.
When organic chemists anthropomorphize molecules, they say that molecules "want to be in their lowest energy conformation." This means that when they have energy molecules can move into different conformations, but they have a resting position that they come back to.
The resting position of DNA is very tightly curled up. It is so hard to unravel that researchers do not fully understand how the various helper molecules uncurl and unzip it for replication and translation.
Thus, as Meredith realized, from the organic chemistry point of view, the answer to "what does DNA want" is: It wants to sit curled up in a knot. DNA does not want to replicate or translate.
The conclusion that DNA was unlikely to be the dynamic mover of evolutionary processes led to the next question: So who does want to do replication and translation?