6 Difference Between Codon and Anticodon (With Table)

When I started teaching genetics ten years ago, I realized that many learners found it had to understand the central dogma process.

The central dogma is a replication of translation and transcription that takes place during the transportation of genetic materials. The mechanism enhances the transfer of information from DNA to RNA and finally to protein.

So, what is the difference between codon and anticodon? The former is a language which represents amino acid on mRNA molecule while the latter is the complementary nucleotide sequence of the codon on tRNA molecules.

Codon and anticodon are nucleotide triplet that specifies amino acids on the polypeptide. They contain a set of rules for the storage of genetic information that foster the synthesis of proteins. These set rules are also known as genetic codes.

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Comparison Table (Codon vs Anticodon)

Basic Terms Codon Anticodon
DescriptionIt involves a combination of three sets of nucleotides located found in the DNA and RNA strandsThe tRNA complements the nucleotide sequence to the codon in the mRNA.
LocationmRNA moleculetRNA molecule
Complementary NatureNucleotide triplet in DNACodon
ContinuitySequentially present in the mRNAIndividually present in the tRNAs.
FunctionDetermine the position of the amino acidSpecify amino acid of codon
AmountmRNA chain consists of multiple nucleotides grouped into three to form numerous codon units.Each tRNA contains one amino acid and a single anticodon.

What Is Codon?

A codon is also known as a genetic code. It is the base sequence of three nucleotides present on the mRNA. The code is responsible for the formation of amino acids in proteins.

The nucleotides on the genetic code are A, C, G, and U. These nitrogenous bases help to determine a particular sequence of amino acids in proteins.

The main nucleotides formed from the are purines and pyrimidines. Examples of purines are adenine and guanine while those of pyrimidines are cytosine and uracil.

These codons are grouped into four different patterns. The combination helps to bring out the 64 patterns where each has three bases such as AUG, CUA, ACA, and more.

The open reading frame on the DNA strands has both start and stop codons. These two codes help to define human characteristics by altering the nucleotide sequence.

A start codon refers to the first nucleotide of mRNA that initiates the process of gene formation. It is also known as a universal codon and comprises AUG bases.

A stop codon refers to the remaining three nucleotides that do not code for anything. The stop codon is also known as the termination codon or nonsense codon.

Keep in mind that codons are specificity, degeneracy, universality, and non-overlapping. Specificity is a particular code that forms a specific and same amino acid.

Universality is a crucial codon where only 20 amino acids are coded in living things. The genetic code is universal and is conserved during evolution.

Degeneracy refers to the degeneration of codons since many amino acids are more important than one codon. But these amino acids have different third bases.

Non-overlapping describes genetic codes that are coma-less and read from a fixed point. The addition or deletion of the bases alters the sequence of the mRNA.

What Is Anticodon?

An anticodon refers to the three-nucleotide sequence on the tRNA. It usually complements the codon sequence on the mRNA.

Each codon usually consists of a matching anticodon on a distinct tRNA molecule. The tRNA act as a carrier of amino acids to the ribosomes during translation.

Wobbling base-pairing refers to the process where a single anticodon is combined to a base pair with more than one codon on the mRNA. The process occurs due to the loss of the first nucleotide on the tRNA molecule.

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Main Difference between Codon and Anticodon

  1. Codon is found on the mRNA molecule. Anticodon on the tRNA molecule.
  2. Codon is complementary to the three nucleotides on the DNA. Anticodon is complementary to the codon.
  3. Codon is sequentially present on the mRNA. Anticodon is individually present on tRNA.
  4. Codon determines the position of the amino acids. Anticodon specifies amino acids by the codon.
  5. Codon is where one mRNA contains several codons. Anticodon is where tRNA contains one anticodon.

Similarities between Codon and Anticodon

  1. Both are essential in protein synthesis.
  2. Both help to determine the genetic make-up.
  3. Both have specific roles during genetic coding.

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In Conclusion

The genetic code formation in living organisms is super complex. These codes help to determine the traits of human beings and other animals.

Keep in mind that both codons and anticodons are responsible for the transportation of genetic information. Each base pair usually affects protein synthesis brings diversity to the world.

The main difference between codon and anticodon is based on the location. Codon is located on the mRNA molecule and anticodon on the tRNA molecule.

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