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Additional resources for Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry, Volumes 116-202
The division of function between DNA (genetic information storage) and protein (catalysis) was, according to the “RNA world” hypothesis, a later development. New variants of self-replicating RNA molecules developed, with the additional ability to catalyze the condensation of amino acids into peptides. Occasionally, the peptide(s) thus formed would reinforce the self-replicating ability of the RNA, and the pair—RNA Evolutionary Foundations 33 molecule and helping peptide—could undergo further modifications in sequence, generating even more efficient self-replicating systems.
Gene 1 Gene 2 Function 1 Function 2 Homologous genes 1 and 2 are paralogs, related in sequence but encoding proteins of different function in the same species. FIGURE 1–37 Generation of genetic diversity by mutation and gene duplication. 1 A mistake during replication of the genome of species A results in duplication of a gene (gene 1). The second copy is superfluous; mutations in either copy will not be deleterious as long as one good version of gene 1 is maintained. 2 As random mutations occur in one copy, the gene product changes, and in rare cases the product of the “new” gene (now gene 2) acquires a new function.
Such feedback inhibition keeps the production and utilization of each metabolic intermediate in balance. Although the concept of discrete pathways is an important tool for organizing our understanding of metabolism, it is an oversimplification. There are thousands of metabolic intermediates in a cell, many of which are part of more than one pathway. Metabolism would be better represented as a meshwork of interconnected and interdependent pathways. A change in the concentration of any one metabolite would have an impact on other pathways, starting a ripple effect that would influence the flow of materials through other sectors of the cellular economy.