Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Coding For Arthropods: What's So Special About Insects And Spiders?

Date:
April 30, 2006
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Scientists have found evidence for parallel evolution of an alternate genetic code in arthropod mitochondria (AGG is translated into lysine rather than serine), and correlated co-evolution of the tRNA-Lys/Ser anticodons, according to a study published in PLoS Biology.

The horseshoe crab uses the newly discovered genetic code (AGG translates into lysine rather than serine). Parallel evolution of this and the typical code of invertebrate mitochondrial genomes (which is correlated with tRNA mutations) occurred repeatedly along the evolutionary history of arthropods. (Figure: horseshoe crab lithograph by George Endicott)

The central dogma of molecular biology is that DNA makes RNA makes protein. This relies on a specific underlying code which relates given triplets of RNA nucleotides into specific amino acids. Each of the 20 amino acids is represented by one or more RNA triplets, or codons: UAC is decoded as tyrosine, for example, and UGC as cysteine. (U is the RNA nucleotide containing uracil, A is adenine, C is cytosine, and G is guanine.) For some time the code had been thought to be the same in all organisms. But exceptions have been seen before, particularly in mitochondria.

In a new study published online this week in the open-access journal PLoS Biology, Federico Abascal, Rafael Zardoya, and colleagues show that in the mitochondria of arthropod there are two nonstandard codes, and suggest that genetic code changes within a lineage may be more frequent than was earlier believed.

The authors aligned the mitochondrial coding sequence from >600 animal species looking for conserved codons and identifying which amino acid (AA) it specified in the corresponding protein. The most frequent AA was taken to be the canonical translation of that codon. What they found was that although most codons adhered to the common genetic code in all species, there was nonetheless a surprising trend in the arthropods, the largest of all animal phyla. Typically, AGG translates as the amino acid serine. However, among the arthropod mitochondrial genomes, AGG coded for serine in some species and lysine in others. The authors' analysis of the patterns of change also suggests that the original arthropod mitochondrion used AGG for lysine, not serine.

The observed variety suggests the code has changed multiple times between the two genetic codes. It might be that pairing of AGG and lysine is disadvantageous for the organism employing it, so that loss or reversion over time would be favored. This might also suggest the existence of multiple other nonstandard codes within other lineages. Who knows what other alternatives might be decoded with this method in the future.

Citation: Abascal F, Posada D, Knight RD, Zardoya R (2006) Parallel evolution of the genetic code in arthropod mitochondrial genomes. PLoS Biol 4(5): e127.



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Coding For Arthropods: What's So Special About Insects And Spiders?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060430002720.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2006, April 30). Coding For Arthropods: What's So Special About Insects And Spiders?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060430002720.htm
Public Library of Science. "Coding For Arthropods: What's So Special About Insects And Spiders?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060430002720.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins