The review surveys the information, including the most recent data, on the evolution of genetic code in ciliates, which is among the few codes deviating from the universal one. We discuss the cases of recurrent, independently arising deviations from the assignments of standard codons of polypeptide chain termination in the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes of ciliates and some other protozoans. Possible molecular mechanisms are considered, which underlie deviations from standard termination code to coding glutamine (codon UAA and UAG) and cystein or tryptophane (codon UGA) in the nuclear genome. Critical analysis of the main hypotheses on the evolution of secondary deviations from the universal code in ciliates is presented.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 25, 2009
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