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genetic code


Definition: the genetic information carried by the specific DNA molecules of the chromosomes; specifically, the system whereby particular combinations of three consecutive nucleotides in a DNA molecule control the insertion of one particular amino acid in equivalent places in a protein molecule. The genetic code is almost universal throughout the prokaryotic, plant, and animal kingdoms. There are two known exceptions: In ciliated protozoans, the triplets AGA and AGG are read as termination signals instead of as l-arginine. This is also true of the human mitochondrial code, which, in addition, uses AUA as a code for l-methionine (instead of l-isoleucine) and UGA for l-tryptophan (instead of a termination signal).

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© Copyright 2018 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review date: Sep 19, 2016.