Nature is constantly evolving, only limited by variations that endanger the viability of species. Central in the evolution of life is the study of the origin and expansion of the genetic code *. A team of expert biologists in this matter explains in Science Advances , the existence of a limitation that stopped the evolution of the genetic code in its tracks , the universal set of rules that all organisms on Earth use to translate the sequences of genes from acids. nucleic (DNA and RNA) to the amino acid sequence of the proteins that will carry out cellular functions. The team of scientists led by ICREA researcher Lluís Ribas de Pouplana at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), in collaboration with Fyodor A. Kondrashov from the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) and Modesto Orozco from IRB Barcelona,

has shown that the genetic code evolved to include a maximum of 20 amino acids and could not grow further due to a functional limitation of transfer RNAs, the molecules that act as interpreters between the language of genes and the language of proteins. This brake Algeria Email Lists on the growth of the complexity of life occurred more than 3 billion years ago, before bacteria, eukaryotes and archaebacteria evolved separately, since we all use the same code to produce proteins. The authors of the work explain that the machinery to translate genes into proteins * cannot recognize more than 20 amino acids because it would confuse them between them, which would produce constant mutations in proteins and consequently a mistranslation of genetic information “with catastrophic consequences ”,

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Highlights Ribas. “Protein synthesis based on the genetic code is the lifeblood of all biological systems and it is essential to ensure fidelity” , continues the researcher. A limitation marked by the shape The saturation of the code has its origin in transfer RNAs ( tRNA * ), the molecules that recognize genetic information and carry the corresponding amino acid to the ribosome, where proteins are made by chaining amino acids one after another according to the information of a given gene . Now, the cavity where the tRNAs have to fit inside the ribosome imposes on all these molecules the same structure similar to an L, which leaves very little margin for variation between them . “The system would have been interested in incorporating new amino acids because in fact we use more than 20 but they are added in very complex ways,

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