- The structure, phylogeny and in vivo function of the base pair formed between nucleotides 32 and 38 of the tRNA anticodon loop are reviewed. The A32-U38 pair, which is highly conserved in tRNA2(Ala) and sometimes observed in tRNA2(Pro), was recently found to decrease the affinity of tRNAs to the ribosomal A site relative to other 32-38 combinations. This suggests that the role of 32-38 pair is to tune the tRNA affinity in the A site to a uniform value. New experiments presented here show that the U32C mutation in tRNA1(Gly) increases its affinity to the cognate codon and to codons with third position mismatches in the A site. This suggests that one reason for uniform tRNA binding to evolve was to avoid incorrect codon recognition.