Every strand of DNA has a chain of base pairs. (DNA - Structure and Function.) The base pairs make up a code. This code names different amino acids for building proteins. Three bases together are called a “codon” and each codon spells out one amino acid. There are 64 possible codon combinations, but only 20 amino acids. The code has many overlaps. Many amino acids together build a specific protein. This is called “protein synthesis.” This is the genetic code.
Collaborative consultation on website genetics and genomics from Dr. Stephen M. Carleton, Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn.