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The term "degeneracy of genetic code"

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The term "degeneracy of genetic code"

Postby poobear » Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:31 pm

I know about the genetic code, that several codon can code for a single amino acid etc.
However, Im confused by the term "degeneracy of the genetic code (e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_co ... netic_code).
English is not my native language, but when I think of degeneracy I think of something that is destroyed, abnormal, lost its quality or something in that kind - which I cant apply on the genetic code. I would much rather use the term "redundancy of the genetic code", but that term doesnt seem to be as widespread.

I know termiology is not That important, but I find etymology interesting and I would like to understand this term.

Thanks for any help!
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Postby JackBean » Wed Sep 16, 2009 6:35 pm


well, I haven't think about that in this way anytime earlier :)
But if you look e.g. here: http://www.answers.com/topic/degeneracy
there is also meaning "declination, decline, decay, deterioration" and its antonyms: development, improvement. This is, in my opinion, meaning of this word in this context.
Also, if you remember from physics or chemistry "the degenerated orbitals", which are of the same energy.
So, the meaning is not like mental retardation, but more likely not being perfect ;)

Cis or trans? That's what matters.
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