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Nucleic Acids Res. 1986 July 11; 14(13): 5125–5143.
PMCID: PMC311530

Codon usage in yeast: cluster analysis clearly differentiates highly and lowly expressed genes.


Codon usage data has been compiled for 110 yeast genes. Cluster analysis on relative synonymous codon usage revealed two distinct groups of genes. One group corresponds to highly expressed genes, and has much more extreme synonymous codon preference. The pattern of codon usage observed is consistent with that expected if a need to match abundant tRNAs, and intermediacy of tRNA-mRNA interaction energies are important selective constraints. Thus codon usage in the highly expressed group shows a higher correlation with tRNA abundance, a greater degree of third base pyrimidine bias, and a lesser tendency to the A+T richness which is characteristic of the yeast genome. The cluster analysis can be used to predict the likely level of gene expression of any gene, and identifies the pattern of codon usage likely to yield optimal gene expression in yeast.

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