Optimality properties of a proposed precursor to the genetic code

Thomas Butler, Nigel Goldenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We calculate the optimality score of a doublet precursor to the canonical genetic code with respect to mitigating the effects of point mutations and compare our results to corresponding ones for the canonical genetic code. We find that the proposed precursor is much less optimal than that of the canonical code. Our results render unlikely the notion that the doublet precursor was an intermediate state in the evolution of the canonical genetic code. These findings support the notion that code optimality reflects evolutionary dynamics, and that if such a doublet code originally had a biochemical significance, it arose before the emergence of translation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number032901
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 30 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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