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Selection acts on the neighbors

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Science  12 May 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6338, pp. 595-596
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6338.595-g

To make a protein, three base pairs of DNA are copied into an RNA transcript that is then translated by a ribosome into amino acids. However, three-base-pair codons are commonly redundant in their translation into amino acids. Chevance and Hughes show that even when the amino acids do not change, the sequences of the codons proximal to a specific DNA sequence may affect the number and rate of transcripts formed, and hence gene expression, in the bacterium Salmonella. Modeling shows how the composition of successive codons can influence translational efficiency profoundly in some cases or not at all in others, depending on the species.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1614896114 (2017).

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