Tracing ancient mrna hairpins

Idan Gabdank, Danny Barash, Edward N. Trifonov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


From recent developments of the early evolution theory it follows that the earliest mRNAs were short (∼20 nt) (G+C)-rich polynucleotides. These short sequences could form hairpins, which would be of high evolutionary advantage because of stability and uniqueness of their conformations. Due to mutations accumulated during billions of years of evolution, the speculated earliest hairpins would largely lose the initial complementarities. Some of the original complementary base-to-base contacts, however, may have survived. Computational analysis of modern prokaryotic mRNA sequences reveals excess population of the expected short range complementarities. The derived earliest mRNA hairpin size fully corresponds to the predicted size of ancient coding duplexes. The repertoire of the surviving hairpins traced in modern mRNA confirms duplex structure of the earliest mRNA, suggested by the early molecular evolution theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-169
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2006


  • Ancient binary alphabet of proteins
  • Computational sequence analysis
  • Earliest mRNA
  • Earliest mini-genes
  • Evolution of triplet code
  • Mrna hairpins
  • Repertoire of ancient mRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Tracing ancient mrna hairpins'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this