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December 2021

Repetition as the essence of life on this earth: music and genes

Journal/Book: Hamatol Bluttransfus. 1987; 31: 511-8.

Abstract: In prebiotic nucleic acid replication, templates appear to have been in short supply. A single round of tandem duplication of existing oligomers assured progressive extension of templates to the length adequate for encoding of polypeptide chains. Thus, the first set of coding sequences had to be repeats of base oligomers encoding polypeptide chains of various periodicities. On one hand, the readiness of these periodical polypeptide chains to assume alpha-helical and/or beta-sheet secondary structures contributed to the extremely rapid initial functional diversification of these polypeptide chains. It would be recalled that most, if not all, of the sugar-metabolizing enzymes had already achieved the inviolable functional competence before the division of prokaryotes from eukaryotes. On the other hand, a certain (dipeptidic?) of the peptidic periodicities was apparently chosen as the timekeeping unit by the biological clock. Musical compositions too apparently evolved originally as a timekeeping device. Accordingly, repetitiousness is evident in all musical compositions. Evolution of musical compositions from the early Baroque to the late Romantic parallels that of coding sequences from rather exact repeats of base oligomers to more complex modern coding sequences in which repetitious elements are less conspicuous and more varied. Inasmuch as the earth is governed by the hierarchy of periodicities (days, months and years), such reliance on periodicities is rather expected.

Note: Beckman Research Institute City of Hope Duarte California 91010.

Keyword(s): Evolution|. Genes|. Music|

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