Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 15–17 | Cite as

Amino acid codes in mitochondria as possible clues to primitive codes

  • Thomas H. Jukes
Article

Summary

Differences between mitochondrial codes and the universal code indicate that an evolutionary simplification has taken place, rather than a return to a more primitive code. However, these differences make it evident that the universal code is not the only code possible, and therefore earlier codes may have differed markedly from the previous code. The present universal code is probably a “frozen accident.” The change in CUN codons from leucine to threonine (Neurospora vs. yeast mitochondria) indicates that neutral or near-neutral changes occurred in the corresponding proteins when this code change took place, caused presumably by a mutation in a tRNA gene.

Key words

Amino acid code Evolution Primitive codes Mitochondria 

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References

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas H. Jukes
    • 1
  1. 1.Space Sciences LaboratoryUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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