Correlations between the compositional properties of human genes, codon usage, and amino acid composition of proteins

J Mol Evol. 1991 Jun;32(6):504-10. doi: 10.1007/BF02102652.


We have analyzed the correlation that exists between the GC levels of third and first or second codon position for about 1400 human coding sequences. The linear relationship that was found indicates that the large differences in GC level of third codon positions of human genes are paralleled by smaller differences in GC levels of first and second codon positions. Whereas third codon position differences correspond to very large differences in codon usage within the human genome, the first and second codon position differences correspond to smaller, yet very remarkable, differences in the amino acid composition of encoded proteins. Because GC levels of codon positions are linearly correlated with the GC levels of the isochores harboring the corresponding genes, both codon usage and amino acid composition are different for proteins encoded by genes located in isochores of different GC levels. Furthermore, we have also shown that a linear relationship with a unit slope and a correlation coefficient of 0.77 exists between GC levels of introns and exons from the 238 human genes currently available for this analysis. Introns are, however, about 5% lower in GC, on average, than exons from the same genes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amino Acids / chemistry*
  • Amino Acids / genetics
  • Base Composition*
  • Base Sequence
  • Codon*
  • Exons
  • Genes*
  • Genome, Human*
  • Humans
  • Introns
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Proteins / genetics


  • Amino Acids
  • Codon
  • Proteins