DOI: 10.14704/nq.2015.13.3.850

A Mathematical Model for the Genetic Code(s) Based on Fibonacci Numbers and their q-Analogues

Tidjani Négadi


This work aims at showing the relevance and the applications possibilities of the Fibonacci sequence, and also its q-deformed or “quantum” extension, in the study of the genetic code(s). First, after the presentation of a new formula, an indexed double Fibonacci sequence, comprising the first six Fibonacci numbers, is shown to describe the 20 amino acids multiplets and their degeneracy as well as a characteristic pattern for the 61 meaningful codons. Next, the twenty amino acids, classified according to their increasing atom-number (carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and sulfur), exhibit several Fibonacci sequence patterns. Several mathematical relations are given, describing various atom-number patterns. Finally, a q-Fibonacci simple phenomenological model, with q a real deformation parameter, is used to describe, in a unified way, not only the standard genetic code, when q=1, but also all known slight variations of this latter, when q~1, as well as the case of the 21st amino acid (Selenocysteine) and the 22nd one (Pyrrolysine), also when q~1. As a by-product of this elementary model, we also show that, in the limit q=0, the number of amino acids reaches the value 6, in good agreement with old and still persistent claims stating that life, in its early development, could have used only a small number of amino acids.


genetic code; Fibonacci numbers; degeneracy; atom-numbers; q-Fibonacci numbers; genetic codes

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The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

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