Ribosomes as Ancient Molecular Fossils

Members of NAI's team at Georgia Tech have a new paper in Molecular Biology and Evolution describing an analysis of ribosomal structure and sequence. Their approach chronicles the ribosome's evolution, effectively interpreting the ribosome as a fossil. Using the highest resolution structures available, of two species that represent disparate regions of the evolutionary tree, they have sectioned the large subunit of each ribosome into concentric shells, like an onion, using the site of peptidyl transfer as the origin. Their results suggest that the structure and interactions of both RNA and protein can be described as changing, in an observable manner, over evolutionary time. [Source: NAI Newsletter]

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