Synonymous but not the same: the causes and consequences of codon bias

Nat Rev Genet. 2011 Jan;12(1):32-42. doi: 10.1038/nrg2899. Epub 2010 Nov 23.


Despite their name, synonymous mutations have significant consequences for cellular processes in all taxa. As a result, an understanding of codon bias is central to fields as diverse as molecular evolution and biotechnology. Although recent advances in sequencing and synthetic biology have helped to resolve longstanding questions about codon bias, they have also uncovered striking patterns that suggest new hypotheses about protein synthesis. Ongoing work to quantify the dynamics of initiation and elongation is as important for understanding natural synonymous variation as it is for designing transgenes in applied contexts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Codon / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Gene Expression
  • Genome*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mutation*
  • Protein Biosynthesis


  • Codon
  • Drosophila Proteins