DNA in Train terms.

2 03 2012

3 Billion (give or take) base pairs in the Human Genome. Thats 3 Billion GCs or ATs in all 23 and a bit chromosomes.

I was looking at the railtrack today and noticed that each sleeper is roughly 50cm apart. I was thinking, to all purposes, those sleepers are like basepairs and the rail is the deoxyribophospho backbone.

A good estimate would say that the human genome would  be 1.5×10^9 Meters of rail…15million kilometers of rail!

That’s enough rail to go round the earth just over 374 times.

So, if the Helicase enzyme can strip DNA at 100BPPS, that’s a train traveling at 50mps or 180kmh / 112mph. The human gene content of DNA is about 2-2.5% which could be anywhere from 60million-70million base pairs. A train travelling at 112mph would take six and a half years to cover the protein coding parts of the genome from start to finish.

Of course we know proteins are coded in small blocks, but its fascinating to think of it like this. All this is going on right in our cells as we speak.




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