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Probability of Change in Life: amino acid changes in single nucleotide substitutions

By Kwok-Fong Chan, Stelios Koukouravas, Joshua Yi Yeo, Darius Wen-Shuo Koh, Samuel KE Gan

Posted 13 Aug 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/729756 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.biosystems.2020.104135)

Mutations underpin the processes in life, be it beneficial or detrimental. While mutations are assumed to be random in the bereft of selection pressures, the genetic code has underlying computable probabilities in amino acid phenotypic changes. With a wide range of implications including drug resistance, understanding amino acid changes is important. In this study, we calculated the probabilities of substitutions mutations in the genetic code leading to the 20 amino acids and stop codons. Our calculations reveal an enigmatic in-built self-preserving organization of the genetic code that averts disruptive changes at the physicochemical properties level. These changes include changes to start, aromatic, negative charged amino acids and stop codons. Our findings thus reveal a statistical mechanism governing the relationship between amino acids and the universal genetic code.

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