Frameshifts could be evolutionary shortcuts to create novel proteins

Frameshifts occur when the reading frame in which genetic information is translated is perturbed. Textbook knowledge considers frameshifts to be dangerous as they typically result in altered protein sequences, which are frequently also truncated. Recent research from the lab of Bojan Zagrovic shows that even though frameshifts change the protein sequence, several of its important physicochemical properties stay the same. The results point to a possible new role for frameshifts: They may be a conserved strategy for evolution to create novel protein sequences with already optimized physicochemical properties.