Genetic Code: Aspects of Organization

Science  22 Jul 1966:
Vol. 153, Issue 3734, pp. 420-424
DOI: 10.1126/science.153.3734.420


The pattern of organization of the genetic code decreases to a minimum the phenotypic effects of mutation and of base-pairing errors in protein synthesis. Single base changes, especially transitions, usually cause either no amino acid change or the change to a chemically similar amino acid. The degree of degeneracy of the codons for an amino acid is correlated with their guanine-cytosine content. The code gives greater protection (by both degeneracy and guaninecytosine content of codons) to those amino acids that appear more frequently in proteins. Increased reliability of the protein-synthesis system afforded by this pattern of organization nay have determined the fitness of the present code.