An interesting paper appeared recently in Icarus journal. The paper by Vladimir I. shCherbak and Maxim A. Makukov analyzes some numerical patterns in the standard genetic code. The text can be also found on arXiv.org. This paper spurred some (sometimes heated) discussions on the Internet, such that the authors decided to put up an internet site with FAQ. I do not have much to add to many threads in the Internet, except that
- The truth is that we still do not have a reliable and testable theory for the genetic code origin and evolution. This was the gist of the review paper by Eugene Koonin and myself, and I keep standing behind this premise.
- The genetic code has more regularities than it is usually thought (or can be accounted for by random forces), and in this I agree with the authors of the paper. The existing theories do not explain the overall level of code non-randomness (whatever it might mean).
- I do not buy the authors’ hypothesis of non-terrestrial code origin; at the same time I cannot suggest a better one, hence I will abstain from further discussion on these issues.
- We need to keep looking into the mysteries of the genetic code (and the origin of life).
And finally, from many discussions on the Internet
- Arguments ad hominem are not the best way of having scientific discussions.
Here is also a livejournal post of one of the authors of the paper with a lot of discussions and other interesting links (in Russian).
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