Codon Usage in Molecular Evolution

Abstract

In protein synthesis, succeeding amino acids are indicated by a sequence of codons in the gene. A given amino acid may be represented by up to six codons, making a choice between synonymous codons possible; this permits the creation of an evolutionary pattern of codon usages.

Keywords: codon bias; %G+C; GC3S; intron; exon; mRNA; tRNA; mtDNA

Figure 1.

Degenerate structure of the genetic code. Codons are read vertically. Each of the four rows represents a different level of degeneracy (number of codons per amino acid). The 61 amino acid codons are grouped in 20 sets of 1–6 synonymous members. Each six‐membered set (sextet) is composed of a quartet and a duet. Thus the code includes eight quartets and 12 duets, the isoleucine trio and the single codons of methionine and tryptophan, plus the three terminators. With quartet codons, changing the third base cannot affect the amino acid coded.

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Further Reading

Angellotti MC, Bhuiyan SB, Chen G and Wan XF (2007) CodonO: codon usage bias analysis within and across genomes. Nucleic Acids Research 35: W132–W136.

Marquez R, Smit S and Knight R (2005) Do universal codon‐usage patterns minimize the effects of mutation and translation error? Genome Biology 6: R91.

Plotkin JB, Dushoff J, Desai MM and Fraser HB (2006) Codon usage and selection on proteins. Journal of Molecular Evolution 63: 635–653.

dos Reis M, Savva R and Wernisch L (2004) Solving the riddle of codon usage preferences: a test for translational selection. Nucleic Acids Research 32: 5036–5044.

Semon M, Lobry JR and Duret L (2006) No evidence for tissue‐specific adaptation of synonymous codon usage in humans. Molecular Biology and Evolution 23: 523–529.

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How to Cite close
Grantham, Richard L(Dec 2007) Codon Usage in Molecular Evolution. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0001806.pub2]