The mitochondrial genetic code in some arthropods contains an RNA-to-protein translation never seen before, according to a new study in Public Library of Science (PLoS) Biology. Using an automated genomics-based method, the authors found that translation of the RNA triplet AGG has changed many times in the evolutionary history of arthropods -- hinting that alternative genetic codes in mitochondrial genomes may be more common than suspected, the authors say."I think we're really looking here at the beginnings of a landslide change to recognizing the code is far more malleable than early dogma would have us believe," said Stephen Freeland of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, who was not involved in the study.Scientists have reported unusual amino acid translations in nuclear genomes of yeasts and ciliates, as well as in mitochondrial genomes of several metazoans. These coding variants were usually discovered by comparative sequence analysis: If one species consistently uses...

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