Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Life With Longer Genetic Codes Seems Possible, But Less Likely


A recent study talked about on Quantamagazine showed that life with the triplet codon design that we know makes up all of life on Earth is not the only possible way for life's genetic codes. The study showed that it is possible to successfully change an organism's genetic code from being a 3-letter triplet code to a 4-letter quadruplet code. This allows for 4 times the possible codon combinations. However, it was found that this resulted in the E. coli experimented on to produce only 9 of the 20 essential amino acids. It was also found that the quadruplet code translations were inefficient; sometimes to the point that it hindered cell growth. This experiment helped to shed light in a couple ways. One way being that it is possible for life to exist with a different coding mechanism than our triplet codes. Another way being that it shows why evolution has selected a triplet code over a more complex quadruplet code. Life as we know it works much better with triplet codes, but it is possible that there is life somewhere else in the universe that lives in a complex enough environment that a quadruplet code is better.

1 comment:

  1. The findings of the study are incredible as now we know that it is possible for life to exist with a different coding mechanism, however this effects cell growth. Despite being able use quadruplet code translations, life is most successful using three. This information opens doors for other research questions to be answered.