Molecular evolution

Proteins have evolved in terms of their structure to achieve quasi-perfection in their respective functions. The process of evolution is simple in principle: spontaneous mutations occur randomly at low frequency (1/106) in nucleic acids sequences, and their resulting modified products are most often abortive, unless they convey a functional advantage to the organism hosting them. In this case the mutated sequence tends to be more frequent than the old one in the offsprings through mere competition. The results of such a process represent the basis for the divergence of species according to Darwin. Its consequences are in fact quite complex, and include:

While the first implication bears on protein folding, the second rules the development of a protometabolism at the origine of Life itself, and the third have enabled coordinated cellular function (see heterogeneous catalysis, macromolecular recognition, organized metabolism, and channeling).
last update, Dec 1999 - Claude Aflalo - suggestions are welcome...