The standard alphabet of the 20 genetically encoded amino acids is considered to have been selected during early evolution from a larger pool of α-amino acids based on its coverage of the chemical space. Chemical space is here defined by charge, size and hydrophobicity, leading to 6-tuples representing coverage, which is composed of range and evenness in these three physico-chemical properties. We summarize findings of previous studies on the adaptive properties of the 20 encoded amino acids and show how we extend these computational experiments to subsets of the standard alphabet.
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology