Harvard-Developed “Codetta” Program Deciphers Genetic Code in 250,000 Genomes; Large-Scale Analysis Reveals Five Instances Where Code for Amino Acid Arginine Was Reassigned to Different Amino Acid; More Evidence That Genetic Code Is Not Universal

In the 1800s, the Rosetta Stone--an ancient rock slab inscribed with three languages--helped scholars decode Egyptian hieroglyphics. Now, a computer program is doing something similar for the genetic code. The program, named “Codetta,” can read the genome sequence of any organism, and then spit out its genetic code: the biological key that translates genetic information into instructions for building proteins. Across most of the tree of life, this code is universal. But scientists have found a handful of exceptions--in some organisms, genetic info codes for instructions different from those in other life-forms.

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