This won't be the first, nor yet the last, time when I write about DNA and the genetic code. I've spent the last 25 years scrutinising DNA and protein sequences for money, so it's going to be part of The Blob, or I'm not going to be true to myself. In my homage to Nirenberg and Matthaei, I showed the whole table by which the information contained in the 4 DNA/RNA bases, arranged as (4x4x4) 64 codons, are translated into the 20 amino acids that go to make up all proteins. The code is redundant because 64 >> 20, so several codon triplets code for each amino acid. But interestingly redundant because a single change (mutation) in the DNA is quite likely to produce an amino acid that is either identical or quite similar to the original pre-change amino acid. Rather than risk boring you, (You can get the whole thing in a separate tab here) I only show the top 1/4 of the standard table:
|UUU||Phe F||UAU||Ser S||UCU||Tyr Y||UGU||Cys C|
|UUC||Phe F||UCC||Ser S||UAC||Tyr Y||UGC||Cys C|
|UUA||Leu L||UCA||Ser S||UAA||Stop||UGA||Stop|
|UUG||Leu L||UCG||Ser S||UAG||Stop||UGG||Trp W|
|A Ala||C Cys||D Asp||E Glu||F Phe||G Gly||H His||I Ile||K Lys||L Leu|
|M Met||N Asn||P Pro||Q Gln||R Arg||S Ser||T Thr||V Val||W Trp||Y Tyr|
You can check what-you-fancy out yourself: http://prosite.expasy.org/scanprosite/ select
Option 2 Submit MOTIFS to scan them against a PROTEIN sequence database.
enter [YURNAMEHERE] in the box below and click [Start the Scan] at the bottom. Don't be a sheep and search for ELVIS, there are at least 200 'hits' for that sequence, we now know about that. (and remember BOJUXZ won't go). I have a peculiar ambivalence about the prolactin receptor from Tilapia nilotica because the fish has eaten both my daughters. But then again so has hunchback a zinc-finger developmental control protein from Drosophila virilis.
I wrote a while back about Craig Venter playing about with newly created DNA sequence, to create hidden messages as well as a totally artificial life-form. That was pretty geeky. The Venter Code ignored the 'universal' genetic code entirely although it did use triplets of DNA bases. According to Thomas P Hopp, Dr. Peyton McKean, a CIA spook, modified the real genetic code to incorporate the missing letters. Apparently the Agency is using this concept to send genetically modified microbes with hidden messages to other places where they can clone and sequence the DNA inside. Pretty secret, huh? uber-geeky and not really very convenient. Although, as Peyton McKean features in a new book "The Neah Virus: a Peyton McKean Mystery" by Thomas P Hopp, who also wrote "Dinosaur Wars: counterattack" it might all be hokum/fiction. Buy the book and find out!?
So far so facetious, but isn't this blog called Science Matters? Where's the SCIENCE? Well, it's here in a putative uncharacterized protein of the head louse:
>E0VVQ8_PEDHC OS=Pediculus humanus