Table of mRNA Codons and Properties of the Genetic Code

Learn About the Genetic Code

Genetic code
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This is a table of mRNA codons for the amino acids and a description of the properties of the genetic code.

Genetic Code Properties

  1. There is no ambiguity in the genetic code. This means each triplet codes for only one amino acid.
  2. The genetic code is degenerate, which means there is more than one triplet code for many of the amino acids. Methionine and tryptophan each are coded by just one triplet. Arginine, leucine, and serine each are coded by six triplets. The other 15 amino acids are coded by two, three, and four triplets.
  3. There are 61 triplet codes for amino acids. Three other triplets (UAA, UAG, and UGA) are stop sequences. The stop sequences signal chain termination, telling the cellular machinery to stop synthesizing a protein.
  4. The degeneracy of the code for the amino acids coded by two, three, and four triplets is only in the last base of the triplet code. As an example, glycine is coded by GGU, GGA, GGG, and GGC.
  5. Experimental evidence indicates the genetic code is universal for all organisms on Earth. Viruses, bacteria, plants, and animals all use the same genetic code to form proteins from RNA.

Table of mRNA Codons and Amino Acids

mRNA Amino Acid mRNA Amino Acid mRNA Amino Acid mRNA Amino Acid
UUU Phe UCU Ser UAU Tyr UGU Cys
UUC Phe UCC Ser UAC Tyr UGC Cys
UUA Leu UCA Ser UAA Stop UGA Stop
UUG Leu UCG Ser UAG Stop UGG Trp
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
CUU Leu CCU Pro CAU His CGU Arg
CUC Leu CCC Pro CAC His CGC Arg
CUA Leu CCA Pro CAA Gln CGA Arg
CUG Leu CCG Pro CAG Gln CGG Arg
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
AUU Ile ACU Thr AAU Asn AGU Ser
AUC Ile ACC Thr AAC Asn AGC Ser
AUA Ile ACA Thr AAA Lys AGA Arg
AUG Met ACG Thr AAG Lys AGG Arg
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
GUU Val GCU Ala GAU Asp GGU Gly
GUC Val GCC Ala GAC Asp GGC Gly
GUA Val GCA Ala GAA Glu GGA Gly
GUG Val GCG Ala GAG Glu GGG Gly