A codon is a trinucleotide sequence of DNA or RNA that corresponds to a specific amino acid. The genetic code describes the relationship between the sequence of DNA bases (A, C, G, and T) in a gene and the corresponding protein sequence that it encodes. The cell reads the sequence of the gene in groups of three bases. There are 64 different codons: 61 specify amino acids while the remaining three are used as stop signals.
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Codon is the name we give a stretch of the three nucleotides, you know, one of A, C, G, or T, three of which in a row, that code for a specific amino acid, and so the genetic code is made up of units called codons where you have three nucleotides that code for a specific amino acid next to another three nucleotides, another three nucleotides, and another three nucleotides. And the cellular machinery, again the ribosome, that comes through and reads that genetic code, plugs in the correct amino acid that corresponds to each of the triplet code that's in the codon.
Lawrence C. Brody, Ph.D.
Chief & Senior Investigator, Genome Technology Branch; Head, Molecular Pathogenesis Section
Dr. Brody investigates the genetics of breast cancer and neural tube defects. As chief of the NHGRI Genome Technology Branch's Molecular Pathogenesis section, he is interested in studying genetic mutations that lead to perturbations in normal metabolic pathways and cause disorders such as cancer and birth defects. His laboratory investigates mutations in two breast cancer-linked genes, breast cancer gene 1 (BRCA1) and breast cancer gene 2 (BRCA2). Dr. Brody's laboratory was among the first to report that women carrying BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations have a higher risk of developing both breast and ovarian cancer than women without such mutations.