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How frozen metabolic accidents constrain the core evolution of life

Categories: Chemistry and Chemical Biology (CCB)
Speaker: Paul Falkowski, Rutgers Institute of Marine & Coastal Sciences
Date & Time: February 17, 2009 - 11:00am
Location: WL-Auditorium

This talk will examine several core metabolic processes which evolved very early in Earth's history, and which are critical to biogeochemical cycles, but are inefficient. Despite their inefficiency, the processes are essentially "frozen" - that is their primary sequence is virtually unchanged over hundreds of millions of years due to protein-protein, protein-prosthetic group, and protein-lipid interactions. Nature has developed several strategies to maintain these machines using a "Microsoft" approach which involve elaborate repair cycles or massive translation capacity of key genes, which leads to surprising outcomes in the distribution of proteins in nature.

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