The Cipher of the Genetic Code

Biosystems. 2018 Sep:171:31-47. doi: 10.1016/j.biosystems.2018.05.009. Epub 2018 Jun 2.


A new approach to understanding of the genetic code is developed. In order to overcome the key paradox (and Darwinian selection problem) that the highly complex amino acid Phe is encoded by the simplest codons (UUY), and the simplest Gly encoded by the most complex codons (GGN); as well as the paradox of the duplication of some amino acids in the encoding process (Leu, Ser, Arg), we proposed an extension of the notion (and concept) of genetic code. For a better (and lighter) understanding of genetic coding, we proposed a hypothesis after that (under the conditions of allowed metaphoricity and modeling in biology) genetic code has to be understood, analogously in cryptology, as the unity of three entities: the code, the cipher of the code and the key of the cipher. In this hierarchy the term (and notion) "genetic code" remains what has been from the beginning: a connection between four-letter alphabet (four Py-Pu nucleotides, in form of codons) and a twenty-letter alphabet (twenty amino acids); the cipher is a specific chemical complementarity in chemical properties of molecules in the form: similarity in dissimilarity versus dissimilarity in similarity ("Sim in Diss vs Diss in Sim") and the key of cipher: the complementarity on the binary tree of the genetic code in the form: 0-15, 1-14, 2-13, …, 6-9, 7-8. These concepts improve understanding that within the two main Genetic Code Tables (of the nucleotide doublets and nucleotide Triplets) exists a sophisticated nuancing and balancing in the properties of the constituents of GC, including the balance of the number of molecules, atoms, and nucleons.

Keywords: Binary tree; Canonical amino acids; Cipher of the code; Genetic code; Gray code; Particles number balance; Protein amino acids; The key of the cipher.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / genetics
  • Codon
  • Genetic Code*
  • Models, Genetic
  • Nucleotides / genetics
  • Proteins / genetics


  • Amino Acids
  • Codon
  • Nucleotides
  • Proteins