Forma, Vol. 17 (No. 4), pp. 309-320, 2002
Original Paper

Graph Theory Patterns in the Genetic Codes

William Seffens

Department of Biological Sciences and Center for Theoretical Study of Physical Systems, Clark Atlanta University, 223 James Brawley Dr., S.W., Atlanta, GA 30134, U.S.A.
E-mail address:

(Received September 7, 1998; Accepted January 17, 2003)

Keywords: Genetic Code, Graph Theory, mRNA, Codons

Abstract. The genetic code in biology describes how genes that are composed of DNA are translated into proteins composed of amino acids. There are twelve known genetic codes, the standard code used by most organisms, and alternate codes used by mitochondria and some lower organisms. These genetic codes can be represented as graphs, with vertices labeled by the amino acids and lines representing complementary DNA bases arranged as three-letter codons paired with reverse-complement codons. The resultant genetic graphs present forms that suggest an underlying mathematical symmetry that has been shaped by evolutionary forces. The forms of the graphs are discussed relating mathematics and biology.

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