Speaker: Elena Fimmel (Mannheim University of Applied Sciences, Germany)
Title:   Error-Detecting Genetic Codes
Date:  Friday, September 16, 2016
Time: 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Place:   HP 4351 (MacPhail Room), Carleton University

ABSTRACT: The genetic code is the major tool that nature uses for the transmission of information. Several approaches from communication theory, mathematics and physics have been proposed to explain the structure and the functionality of the genetic code. One of the approaches is based on the finding in 1996 of circular codes in large genes of prokaryotes and eukaryotes by Arquès and Michel. Circular codes are subsets of the set of codons that seem to be used by nature in order to eventually detect frame-shift errors in the translation process. They are weaker versions of the comma-free codes, proposed by Crick (co-discoverer of the helical structure of the DNA) in 1957, that can detect frame-shift errors immediately.

In the present talk, after a necessary biological preliminary, five hierarchically ordered classes of trinucleotide codes, including comma-free and circular codes, will be introduced. This hierarchical representation is based on a useful criterion for circularity.  As a further application of this criterion, it will be shown that the so-called RNY-primeval code, from which the modern genetic code is believed to have originated, is circular (and even comma-free).  Besides, it will be shown that it is impossible to encode all twenty amino acids with codes from four out of five hierarchical classes that have the strongest error-correcting properties, a fact previously known only empirically for comma-free and circular codes.

P.S. For more information about the speaker please contact Yuly Billig.

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