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Biosystems. 1989;22(3):177-87.

The code within the codons.

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Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


For the first time it is shown that each of the three codon bases has a general correlation with a different, predictable amino acid property, depending on position within the codon. In addition to the previously recognized link between the mid-base and the hydrophobic-hydrophilic spectrum, we show that, with the exception of G, the first base is generally invariant within a synthetic pathway. G--coded amino acids show a different order, being found only at the head of the synthetic pathways. The redundancy of the nature of the third base has a previously unrecognised relationship with molecular weight. The bases U and A (transversions) are associated with the most sharply defined or opposite states in both the first and second position, C somewhat less so or intermediate, anf G neutral. The apparently systematic nature of these relationships has profound implications for the origin of the genetic code. It appears to be the remains of the first language of the cell, predating the tRNA/ribosome system, persisting with remarkably little change at a deeper level of organisation than the codon language.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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