Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Codon

Smallest combination of bases in a polynucleotide that determines that a certain amino acid will be inserted at a specific position into a polypeptide chain; consists of three contiguous nucleotides called a triplet. By convention, a codon refers to an mRNA reading frame, whereas a triplet refers to a reading frame in DNA.

Cf. anticodon and stop codon.

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