Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 271–278 | Cite as

Codon reassignment (codon capture) in evolution

  • Syozo Osawa
  • Thomas H. Jukes


The genetic code, once thought to be “frozen”, show variations from the universal code. Variations are found in mitochondria,Mycoplasma, and ciliated protozoa. The variations results from reassignment of codons, especially stop codons. The ressignments take place by disappearance of a codon from coding sequences, followed by its reappearance in a new role. Simultaneously, a changed anticodon must appear. We discuss the role of directional mutation pressure in the pressure in the events, and we also describe the possibility that such events have taken place during early evolution of the genetic code and can occur during its present evolution.

Key words

Genetic code Codon reassignment Codon capture Directional mutation pressure AT/GC pressure Wobble rules Mitochondria Mycoplasma Ciliated protozoa 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Syozo Osawa
    • 1
  • Thomas H. Jukes
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, Department of BiologyNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan
  2. 2.Space Sciences LaboratoryUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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