By Stephen Nowicki

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2. A mutation occurring in a codon in mRNA may change a single amino acid in a single protein, whereas a mutation in the anticodon of a tRNA will have a profound effect on the amino acid sequence of all proteins that are being synthesized. Why should this be so? ©2004 The Teaching Company Limited Partnership 51 52 ©2004 The Teaching Company Limited Partnership Lecture Twelve When Mistakes Happen Scope: This lecture shifts the focus on DNA from its remarkable ability to be copied accurately to the inevitable mistakes that happen when copying occurs.

An information-bearing molecule in living systems must satisfy two requirements: It must provide a code to specify the structure of proteins, and it must be able to be replicated. DNA satisfies the replication requirement, but we have not examined how it stores information. We do know, however, that a code needs to specify only the sequence of amino acids in a protein, which ultimately determines protein shape and function. Before we look at how this code might work, we need to take a broader look at how genetic information flows in living systems.

Each addition or deletion offset the code by one unit, essentially turning it into meaningless gibberish. 3. Crick and his partners found that the deletion or addition of three base pairs brought the code back into register, similar to deleting a word in a sentence made of three-letter words. IV. The genetic code is a triplet code, with unique combinations of three nucleotide bases referred to as codons. Many experiments have verified this conclusion, but how did molecular biologists eventually discover which codons specified which amino acids?

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