Codon usage bias and tRNA abundance in Drosophila

Etsuko N. Moriyama, Jeffrey R. Powell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

264 Scopus citations


Codon usage bias of 1,117 Drosophila melanogaster genes, as well as fewer D. pseudoobscura and D. virilis genes, was examined from the perspective of relative abundance of isoaccepting tRNAs and their changes during development. We found that each amino acid contributes about equally and highly significantly to overall codon usage bias, with the exception of Asp which had very low contribution to overall bias. Asp was also the only amino acid that did not show a clear preference for one of its synonymous codons. Synonymous codon usage in Drosophila was consistent with 'optimal' codons deduced from the isoaccepting tRNA availability. Interestingly, amino acids whose major isoaccepting tRNAs change during development did not show as strong bias as those with developmentally unchanged tRNA pools. Asp is the only amino acid for which the major isoaccepting tRNAs change between larval and adult stages. We conclude that synonymous codon usage in Drosophila is well explained by tRNA availability and is probably influenced by developmental changes in relative abundance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)514-523
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Molecular Evolution
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Codon usage bias
  • D. pseudo-obscura
  • D. virilis
  • Developmental stage
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Isoaccepting tRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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