Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Wobble Pair

  • Henderson James (Jim) CleavesII
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_5248-1


A wobble pair, or wobble base pair, is a hydrogen-bonded pairing between two nucleotides generally occurring between two RNA molecules. These base pairs are geometrically distinct from the canonical Watson-Crick-type base-pairing. The main wobble base pairs are hypoxanthine-uracil (I-U, where I represents inosine, the nucleoside formed from hypoxanthine), guanine-uracil (G-U), hypoxanthine-adenine (I-A), and hypoxanthine-cytosine (I-C). Wobble base pairs are of comparable thermodynamic stability to Watson-Crick base pairs. Wobble base pairs occur frequently in RNA secondary structure and are important for proper translation of the genetic code.

In 1966, Francis Crick proposed the Wobble hypothesis to account for the fact that most organisms do not seem to have as many tRNA molecules as would be required for complete translation of the genetic code. There are 64 possible codons in the genetic code. During translation, each of these codons requires a tRNA molecule with a...


Base Pair Stop Codon Genetic Code Thermodynamic Stability Charge Amino Acid 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI), Tokyo Institute of TechnologyMeguro-kuJapan
  2. 2.Institute for Advanced StudyPrincetonUSA
  3. 3.Blue Marble Space Institute of ScienceWashingtonUSA
  4. 4.Center for Chemical Evolution, Georgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA