Evolution of synonymous codon usage in metazoans

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2002 Dec;12(6):640-9. doi: 10.1016/s0959-437x(02)00353-2.


The vast amount of data generated by genome projects and the recent development of population genetics models make comparative sequence analyses a very powerful approach with which to detect the footprints of selection. Studies on synonymous codon usage show that traits with minuscule phenotypic effects can be molded by natural selection. But variations in mutation patterns and processes of biased gene conversion make it difficult to distinguish between selective and neutral evolutionary processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Gene Conversion
  • Genetic Code*
  • Rodentia / genetics
  • Selection, Genetic