How Was the Genetic Code Deciphered? A Historical Look: Scientific Letter

Kasap M.

TURKIYE KLINIKLERI TIP BILIMLERI DERGISI, vol.28, no.5, pp.721-726, 2008 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 28 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.721-726
  • Kocaeli University Affiliated: Yes


This is an article describing the events that led to the breaking of the genetic code. Emphasis was given to the ideas developed by two physicists, George Gamow and Franscis Crick. The article took a chronological view by asking the questions "What did they know then?" and "What do we know today?". The code was deciphered in two stages. Stage I included the hypothesis about the genetic code based on the models. Stage II included the experimental aspects and the role of biochemical reasoning in deciphering the code. Unexpectedly, the code was degenerated and many codons stood for the same amino acid. The article also highlights the fact that hypothesis driven by logical thinking and supported by physical modeling can sometimes be as important as experimental data although they may not truly points out the facts. The doors opened by such model-based hypotheses ultimately lead to finding the facts in science. Amazingly, nature sometimes oversees any rules that we think should be there.