Two-faced codon rewrites genetics?

The genetics of a marine protozoan may overturn one of the long-held tenets of protein synthesis. According to conventional wisdom, the genetic code is unambiguous: each DNA triplet, or codon, corresponds to a single amino acid. But a linkurl:study;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/323/5911/25 in this week's __Science__ reports that in the wee waterborn creature __Euplotes crassus__, a single codon can code for two different amino acids, even within the same gene. This two-pronged

Elie Dolgin
Jan 7, 2009
The genetics of a marine protozoan may overturn one of the long-held tenets of protein synthesis. According to conventional wisdom, the genetic code is unambiguous: each DNA triplet, or codon, corresponds to a single amino acid. But a linkurl:study;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/323/5911/25 in this week's __Science__ reports that in the wee waterborn creature __Euplotes crassus__, a single codon can code for two different amino acids, even within the same gene. This two-pronged coding could be a universal feature of all domains of life, said linkurl:Vadim Gladyshev,;http://genomics.unl.edu/gladyshev/ a biochemist at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, who led the study. "__Euplotes__ is just one example, but the implications are that this situation [one codon coding for two amino acids] might exist in other organisms," he told __The Scientist__. "If __Euplotes__ can use a codon for targeted and specific insertion of two amino acids into different positions in a protein, why not other organisms, too?"...

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