Background: Genetic code alterations have been reported in mitochondrial, prokaryotic, and eukaryotic cytoplasmic translation systems, but their evolution and how organisms cope and survive such dramatic genetic events are not understood. Results: Here we used an unusual decoding of leucine CUG codons as serine in the main human fungal pathogen Candida albicans to elucidate the global impact of genetic code alterations on the proteome. We show that C. albicans decodes CUG codons ambiguously and tolerates partial reversion of their identity from serine back to leucine on a genome-wide scale. Conclusion: Such codon ambiguity expands the proteome of this human pathogen exponentially and is used to generate important phenotypic diversity. This study highlights novel features of C. albicans biology and unanticipated roles for codon ambiguity in the evolution of the genetic code.