Genetic Code: Evolution

Abstract

‘Genetic code’ is the common name for the ribonucleic acid (RNA)–protein translation (triplet) code, one of many different codes harboured by the genomic sequences. This code was the first to be deciphered, is the best studied and is considered to be the major code.

Keywords: triplet code; code anomalies; abiotic start; codon capture; amino acid chronology

References

Attardi G (1985) Animal mitochondrial DNA: an extreme example of genetic economy. International Review of Cytology 93: 93–145.

Chambers I, Frampton J, Goldfarb P et al. (1986) The structure of the mouse glutathione peroxidase gene: the selenocysteine in the active site is encoded by the ‘termination’ codon, TGA. EMBO Journal 5: 1221–1227.

Di Giulio M (2005) The origin of the genetic code: theories and their relationships, a review. BioSystems 80: 175–184.

Eigen M, Gardiner W, Schuster P and Winkler‐Oswatitsch R (1981) The origin of genetic information. Scientific American 244: 88–118.

Eigen M and Schuster P (1978) The hypercycle: a principle of natural self‐organization. Part C: the realistic hypercycle. Naturwissenschaften 65: 341–369.

Miller SL (1987) Which organic compounds could have occurred on the prebiotic earth. Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology 52: 17–27.

Osawa S, Jukes TS, Watanabe K and Muto A (1992) Recent evidence for evolution of the genetic code. Microbiological Reviews 56: 229–264.

Saladino R, Crestini C, Ciciriello F et al. (2007) Formamide chemistry and the origin of informational polymers. Chemistry and Biodiversity 4: 694–720.

Srinivasan G, James CM and Krzycki JA (2002) Pyrrolysine encoded by UAG in Archaea: charging of a UAG‐decoding specialized tRNA. Science 296: 1459–1462.

Trifonov EN (2004) The triplet code from first principles. Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics 22: 1–11.

Wong JT‐F (1988) Evolution of the genetic code. Microbiological Science 5: 174–181.

Yarus M (1998) Amino acids as RNA ligands: a direct‐RNA‐template theory for the code's origin. Journal of Molecular Evolution 47: 109–117.

Further Reading

Bollenbach T, Vetsigian K and Kishony R (2007) Evolution and multilevel optimization of the genetic code. Genome Research 17: 401–404.

Cavalier‐Smith T (2001) Obcells as proto‐organisms: membrane heredity, lithophosphorylation, and the origins of the genetic code, the first cells, and photosynthesis. Journal of Molecular Evolution 53: 555–595.

Crick FHC (1968) The origin of the genetic code. Journal of Molecular Biology 38: 367–379.

Davis BK (1999) Evolution of the genetic code. Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 72: 157–243.

Jukes TH (1966) Molecules and Evolution. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Maynard Smith J and Szathmary E (1995) The Major Transitions in Evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Orgel LE (1998) The origin of life – a review of facts and speculations. Trends in Biochemical Sciences 23: 491–495.

Sella G and Ardell DH (2006) The coevolution of genes and genetic codes: Crick's frozen accident revisited. Journal of Molecular Evolution 63: 297–313.

Wächtershäuser G (1988) Before enzymes and templates: theory of surface metabolism. Microbiological Reviews 52: 452–484.

Woese CR (1965) On the evolution of the genetic code. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 54: 1546–1552.

Contact Editor close
Submit a note to the editor about this article by filling in the form below.

* Required Field

How to Cite close
Trifonov, Edward N(Jul 2008) Genetic Code: Evolution. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005073.pub2]