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Also known as trinucleotides. A codon is made up of three adjacent nucleotides found in DNA or mRNA, and codes for one specific amino acid. The order of these three nucleotides is unique and vitally important in the coding of its amino acid [1].

In some instances, there can be more than one codon which corresponds to the same amino acid [2].

For example, both UUC and UUU code for Phenylalanine.

This is why the codon code goes by the term degenerate.

Codons having complementary bases to a particular anticodon of a tRNA molecule carrying amino acids.[3] The base pairing rules are: 2 hydrogen bonds between adenine and uracil, and guanine to cytosine with 3 hydrogen bonds (REF: website:

This base-pairing process creates specificity of amino acids for protein synthesis.


  1. ALBERTS, B. et al. (2008) Molecular Biology Of The Cell. 5th edition. New York: Garland Science.
  2. Genetic Code Supports Targeted Insertion of Two Amino Acids by One Codon Anton A. Turanov, Alexey V. Lobanov, Dmitri E. Fomenko, Hilary G. Morrison, Mitchell L. Sogin, Lawrence A. Klobutcher, Dolph L. Hatfield, and Vadim N. Gladyshev (9 January 2009) Science 323 (5911), 259. [DOI: 10.1126/science.1164748] One codon can code for two different amino acids within the same gene, with the choice determined by an RNA structure in an untranslated region.
  3. ALBERTS, B. et al. (2008) Molecular Biology Of The Cell. 5th edition. New York: Garland Science

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