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Genomics Insights

The DNA Habitat and its RNA Inhabitants: At the Dawn of RNA Sociology

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Genomics Insights 2013:6 1-12

Perspective

Published on 04 Mar 2013

DOI: 10.4137/GEI.S11490


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Abstract

Most molecular biological concepts derive from physical chemical assumptions about the genetic code that are basically more than 40 years old. Additionally, systems biology, another quantitative approach, investigates the sum of interrelations to obtain a more holistic picture of nucleotide sequence order. Recent empirical data on genetic code compositions and rearrangements by mobile genetic elements and noncoding RNAs, together with results of virus research and their role in evolution, does not really fit into these concepts and compel a reexamination. In this review, we try to find an alternate hypothesis. It seems plausible now that if we look at the abundance of regulatory RNAs and persistent viruses in host genomes, we will find more and more evidence that the key players that edit the genetic codes of host genomes are consortia of RNA agents and viruses that drive evolutionary novelty and regulation of cellular processes in all steps of development. This agent-based approach may lead to a qualitative RNA sociology that investigates and identifies relevant behavioral motifs of cooperative RNA consortia. In addition to molecular biological perspectives, this may lead to a better understanding of genetic code evolution and dynamics.



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