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posted 27. February 2003 07:04
Probability of randomly assembling a primitive cell on Earth: Part II
by Dermott J. Mullan
ABSTRACT—In Part I of this paper (PCID, Oct.-Dec. 2002), we estimated the probability of randomly assembling a cell containing 12 proteins, each of which consists of a chain of 14 peptides. Here, we apply some of the discussion in Part I to laboratory experiments, and show that the results of these experiments are not inconsistent with our discussion. Our analysis leads us to consider also the probability of assembling larger proteins, consisting of hundreds of amino acids. We show that, in the “bottleneck” between the doublet-codon and triplet-codons world, there is a high probability that such large proteins can be assembled randomly in the primeval Earth. In the presence of very low protein specificity, even cells consisting of 250 large proteins can be assembled randomly with formally high probability. However, in the absence of error protection in the genetic code in the bottleneck, reliable replication of such cells cannot be guaranteed.
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[ 27. February 2003, 07:05: Message edited by: Moderator ]