News of the WeekINFORMATICS

The Genome Chose Its Alphabet With Care

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Science  13 Sep 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5588, pp. 1789-1791
DOI: 10.1126/science.297.5588.1789b

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Of all the nucleotide bases available, why did nature pick the four we know as A, T, G, and C for the genomic alphabet? One researcher believes that the choice incorporates a tactic for minimizing the occurrence of errors in the pairing of bases, in the same way that error-coding systems are incorporated into ISBNs on books, credit card numbers, bank accounts, and airline tickets.