DNA Seen Through the Eyes of a Coder

Posted on January 2, 2008  Comments (2)

Great paper looking at DNA from the perspective of a computer programmer. DNA seen through the eyes of a coder by Bert Hubert:

The language of DNA is digital, but not binary. Where binary encoding has 0 and 1 to work with (2 – hence the ‘bi’nary), DNA has 4 positions, T, C, G and A. Whereas a digital byte is mostly 8 binary digits, a DNA ‘byte’ (called a ‘codon’) has three digits. Because each digit can have 4 values instead of 2, an DNA codon has 64 possible values, compared to a binary byte which has 256.

A typical example of a DNA codon is ‘GCC’, which encodes the amino acid Alanine. A larger number of these amino acids combined are called a ‘polypeptide’ or ‘protein’, and these are chemically active in making a living being.

Furthermore, 97% of your DNA is commented out. DNA is linear and read from start to end. The parts that should not be decoded are marked very clearly, much like C comments. The 3% that is used directly form the so called ‘exons’. The comments, that come ‘inbetween’ are called ‘introns’.

Related: RNA Interference WebcastHiring Software DevelopersDonald Knuth, Computer Scientist

2 Responses to “DNA Seen Through the Eyes of a Coder”

  1. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » So What are Genetic Algorithms?
    January 12th, 2009 @ 1:30 pm

    […] DNA Seen Through the Eyes of a Coder – Evolutionary Design – Algorithmic Self-Assembly – The Chip That Designs Itself by curiouscat […]

  2. Algorithmic Self-Assembly » Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog
    July 29th, 2011 @ 7:56 pm

    he shows the promise ahead for using biological building blocks using DNA origami — to create tiny machines that assemble themselves from a set of instructions.

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