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Life 2017, 7(1), 12; doi:10.3390/life7010012

Efforts and Challenges in Engineering the Genetic Code

School of Life Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Sha Tin, NT, Hong Kong, China
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Koji Tamura
Received: 26 January 2017 / Revised: 9 March 2017 / Accepted: 10 March 2017 / Published: 14 March 2017
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Abstract

This year marks the 48th anniversary of Francis Crick’s seminal work on the origin of the genetic code, in which he first proposed the “frozen accident” hypothesis to describe evolutionary selection against changes to the genetic code that cause devastating global proteome modification. However, numerous efforts have demonstrated the viability of both natural and artificial genetic code variations. Recent advances in genetic engineering allow the creation of synthetic organisms that incorporate noncanonical, or even unnatural, amino acids into the proteome. Currently, successful genetic code engineering is mainly achieved by creating orthogonal aminoacyl-tRNA/synthetase pairs to repurpose stop and rare codons or to induce quadruplet codons. In this review, we summarize the current progress in genetic code engineering and discuss the challenges, current understanding, and future perspectives regarding genetic code modification. View Full-Text
Keywords: frozen accident; genetic code; genetic engineering; evolution; synthetic biology frozen accident; genetic code; genetic engineering; evolution; synthetic biology
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Lin, X.; Yu, A.C.S.; Chan, T.F. Efforts and Challenges in Engineering the Genetic Code. Life 2017, 7, 12.

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