Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 150–160 | Cite as

Selection pressures on codon usage in the complete genome of bacteriophage T7

  • Paul M. Sharp
  • Mark S. Rogers
  • David J. McConnell


We searched the complete 39,936 base DNA sequence of bacteriophage T7 for nonrandomness that might be attributed to natural selection. Codon usage in the 50 genes of T7 is nonrandom, both over the whole code and among groups of synonymous codons. There is a great excess of purineany base-pyrimidine (RNY) codons. Codon usage varies between genes, but from the pooled data for the whole genome (12,145 codons) certain putative selective constraints can be identified. Codon usage appears to be influenced by host tRNA abundance (particularly in highly expressed genes), tRNA-mRNA interactions (one such interaction being perhaps responsible for maintaining the excess of RNY codons) and a lack of short palindromes. This last constraint is probably due to selection against host restriction enzyme recognition sites; this is the first report of an effect of this kind on codon usage. Selection against susceptibility to mutational damage does not appear to have been involved.

Key words

Bacteriophage T7 DNA sequence analysis Codon usage Molecular evolution Synonymous codons RNY codons Restriction sites tRNA Pretermination codons 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul M. Sharp
    • 1
  • Mark S. Rogers
    • 1
  • David J. McConnell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeneticsTrinity CollegeDublin 2Ireland

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