Evolution and multilevel optimization of the genetic code

Genome Res. 2007 Apr;17(4):401-4. doi: 10.1101/gr.6144007. Epub 2007 Mar 9.


The discovery of the genetic code was one of the most important advances of modern biology. But there is more to a DNA code than protein sequence; DNA carries signals for splicing, localization, folding, and regulation that are often embedded within the protein-coding sequence. In this issue, Itzkovitz and Alon show that the specific 64-to-20 mapping found in the genetic code may have been optimized for permitting protein-coding regions to carry this extra information and suggest that this property may have evolved as a side benefit of selection to minimize the negative effects of frameshift errors.

Publication types

  • Comment
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / genetics
  • Codon / genetics
  • Codon, Terminator / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genetic Code / genetics*
  • Open Reading Frames / genetics*
  • Protein Biosynthesis


  • Amino Acids
  • Codon
  • Codon, Terminator