The posttranscriptional modification of RNA is a significant investment in genes, enzymes, substrates, and energy. Advances in molecular genetics and structural biology indicate strongly that modifications of tRNA's anticodon domain control gene expression. Modifications at the anticodon's wobble position are required for recognition of rarely used codons and restrict or expand codon recognition depending on their chemistries. A shift of the translational reading frame occurs in the absence of modifications at either wobble position-34 or the conserved purine-37, 3'-adjacent to the anticodon, causing expression of alternate protein sequences. These modifications have in common their contribution of order to tRNA's anticodon.